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Lack of Covid-19 testing algorithm for nursing homes highlighted

By Mindo - 12th Oct 2020

Concern was expressed at a meeting between the HSE and HIQA about the “lack of clarity” around Covid-19 testing in nursing homes, the Medical Independent (MI) can reveal. The issue was discussed during an information sharing meeting between the two bodies on 1 July, the minutes of which were seen by this newspaper through Freedom of Information legislation.

“Currently there appears to be different pathways in place if staff test positive and if residents test positive,” according to the minutes.

“It would be really helpful if there was one algorithm or document to guide centres.”

A spokesperson for HIQA told MI that different pathways still exist and an algorithm was not developed as far as the Authority was aware.

“However, serial testing of staff has largely addressed this issue,” the spokesperson said.

The meeting also heard about residents being transferred from nursing homes or other long-term facilities to what is referred to as the ‘Covid-19 section’ of a hospital emergency department, regardless of the Covid-19 status of the resident.

“The HSE were looking into this issue and we have not been informed of any repetition of the original incident, which gave rise to the escalation,” according to the spokesperson.

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