12 former residents of St Brigid’s died from Covid-19 after move

By Aideen O'Flaherty

TWELVE former residents of St Brigid’s Nursing Home in Crooksling, Brittas, died as a result of Covid-related illness following the move from the nursing home to the Tymon North Community Nursing Home in late March, while 34 members of staff have tested positive for the virus.

The first Crooksling resident to test positive for coronavirus was diagnosed on March 23 in Tallaght University Hospital, and shortly thereafter all of the Crooksling residents were transferred to Tymon North – while eight of the residents were awaiting test results for the virus.

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Residents and staff from Crooksling are now located at the Tymon North Community Nursing Home

According to the HSE, they sought advice from the Department of Public Health and the Community Geriatrician before moving the Crooksling residents to the new nursing home, which was partly-opened ahead of schedule as a result of the pandemic.

A total of 17 former Crooksling residents died following the move from Crooksling, and 12 of these deaths were Covid-related.

Fianna Fáil councillor for Firhouse-Bohernabreena, Deirdre O’Donovan, who is a member of the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum, told The Echo: “As someone who has campaigned about Crooksling for a number of years, and as someone whose grandmother spent her final years there, I am devastated.

“The move was chaotic – people were moved without a plan in place, the residents didn’t even get to bring their clothes with them and staff had to go back and forth to get their belongings.

“There weren’t enough beds in Tymon North for all of the Crooksling residents, so they had to split them up.

“That caused such a high level of stress for them, it would have even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic.

“The family members of those affected are devastated at what has happened.”

A total of 46 former Crooksling residents were moved to Tymon North, two residents were moved to Baltinglass Hospital and one resident to the Maynooth Community Care Unit, according to figures released by the HSE at a recent meeting of the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum.

During the move, residents who displayed symptoms of Covid-19 were put in a specific control area, while residents who were not symptomatic were put in a separate area.

In their statement during the Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum, the HSE said: “There were no single rooms available in St Brigid’s in which to isolate residents.

“During the move residents were transported and provided with appropriate PPE while the staff providing the transportation were also provided with the required PPE and appropriate disinfection occurred of vehicles between each journey.

“This process was further supported by the risk assessment and transportation plan completed prior to the move.

“On arrival at Tymon North residents were cohorted into separate ward areas, each with their own room and bathroom and in line with their clinical needs and Covid status.”

Cllr O’Donovan added she believes that the pandemic has shown that the nursing home system is “deeply flawed”, and that a move towards models like retirement villages could be the way forward – and the that the Crooksling site should be used for that purpose.

“We have this incredible site that’s ten minutes from Tallaght Hospital and The Square, where they could develop units where people are self-contained,” she said.

“That land was a gift to the community for a tuberculosis hospital, and now we have an opportunity for that site to become the gold standard for the healthcare of older people.”

As reported in The Echo last week, Independent councillor Mick Duff, who is also a member of the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum, said that he hoped the land could be used to develop housing in a bid to reduce the number of people on the housing list.

The Echo understands that plans are currently being put in place by the HSE to put the former nursing home and the surrounding lands on the market.

The HSE was contacted for comment, but a response was not received in time for print.

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