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Mental health residents vulnerable to Covid-19 warns MCH

Suitable premises are urgently required to protect mental health residents against Covid-19 the Mental Health Commission (MHC) has warned today.

Four inspection reports published this morning by the Commission have identified two critical, seven high-risk, and ten moderate-risk non-compliance ratings at four in-patient mental health units, located in Limerick, Galway, Dublin and Laois.

All four inspections were carried out in February and early March of this year.

 “A recent Covid-19 review paper published by the Commission stated that a risk was identified in relation to facilities with shared accommodation and limited ability to isolate residents at the outset of the monitoring and risk-rating period at the beginning of April,” said the MHC’s Chief Executive, John Farrelly.

“Although we were not risk-rating for Covid-19 at the time of these four inspections, the reports clearly highlight weaknesses in the areas of premises and accommodation, as well as staff training, emphasising once again that sweeping changes in all these areas are required in order to best protect residents against Covid-19, and particularly when we are dealing with elderly patients.

 “Shared accommodation, dormitory-style bedrooms, old unsuitable premises, and shared bathrooms are not suitable to meet the requirements for a modern, in-patient mental health unit for older persons with or without the ongoing threat of a deadly virus.

“However, given what we know now about Covid-19, and how rapidly it can spread in residential settings, these ongoing issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to mitigate further loss of life from this or similar highly-contagious viruses now or in the future.”

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