GPs “continue to care” for their patients in nursing homes including through on site and telephone/video consultations, the ICGP and IMO have said in a joint statement this afternoon.
The organisations said they were responding to a number of media queries on the matter.
“The care of patients in nursing homes and other residential facilities has presented particular challenges for all healthcare staff including GPs in the context of the pandemic,” according to the statement.
“It is important to note that while there are significant problems in some areas many of these facilities are not experiencing the same problems. GPs continue to care for their patients in nursing homes and in some cases that may be through on site consultations where that is appropriate, telephone or video consults, advice to nursing home staff and ongoing monitoring of patients.”
Dr Denis McCauley, Chair of the GP committee of the IMO, said: “GPs across the country are working hard to support vulnerable patients in nursing homes through both personal visits and phone based consultations. Phone based consultations must be seen in the context of nursing homes which have nurses working on site and follow the advice of the relevant public health authorities.”
Dr McCauley continued: “The care of patients in nursing homes and other residential facilities through the pandemic has presented particular challenges for GPs. GPs continue to care for their patients in nursing homes and in some cases that may be through on site consultations where that is appropriate, telephone or video consultations, advice to nursing home staff and ongoing monitoring of patients.
“It is important to note that on site consultations can bring an infection risk for staff and patients within the nursing home and it is important that such consultations are only carried out where necessary.”
Dr Mary Favier, President of the ICGP, stated: “GPs have stepped up to the mark across the country in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. They are dealing with this crisis in their surgeries, in community assessment hubs and in nursing homes. We welcome the new regime of testing for nursing home residents and staff. As part of our ongoing efforts to provide the best care to our patients in the most appropriate settings, we are working with the HSE to ensure best care possible is delivered in the context of Covid-19.
“Safe ways of delivering ongoing clinical care to patients which respect the patient, relatives and staff are under constant review depending on the situation and intervention required”.
Discussions are taking place with the HSE as to how GPs can enhance their support for patients in some particularly challenged nursing homes which have clusters of Covid-19 positive residents.
Any arrangements will reflect the new regime for testing of nursing home residents and the establishment of Crisis Teams for the nursing home sector.