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Age Action calls for Recommended Public Inquiry to be Independent and to Report to the Oireachtas

Published 09/10/2020

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(09 October 2020) Age Action welcomes the recommendation of the Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 Response that a public inquiry be established to investigate and report on all circumstances relating to each individual death from Covid-19 in nursing homes.

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action said ‘In welcoming the committee’s support for a public inquiry we are particularly mindful of the many bereaved family members and friends who have lost a loved one during the pandemic. In talking to family members, it is clear that in certain nursing home settings the level of care was sub-optimal and inconsistent. In a number of situations, family member’s grief is compounded by the absence of transparency and a full account of the care and medical treatment decisions prior to their loved one’s death’.

‘A national level inquiry is an important step, it must ensure that it scrutinises the actions in a number of settings where there has been a higher than average number of deaths. It should also inquire into the timeline of actions and decisions by key statutory bodies, including HIQA, the HSE and the Department of Health and the associated structures established to address the pandemic. We need to know if nursing home residents were afforded equal access to healthcare including end of life care, was their dignity and right to exercise choice and control over their own lives upheld and were response measures adequate, proportionate and non-discriminatory’ said Connolly.

Overall, 56% of all deaths during COVID-19 took place in nursing homes (as of July 2020) where 0.65% of the population live, a much higher figure than internationally (approximately 25%) and placing Ireland at the ‘upper end of the spectrum’.  Some 56% of nursing homes remained COVID-19 free during the period of the pandemic under review by the Special Committee. 

Paddy Connolly stated, ‘The equality and human rights impacts of COVID-19 response measures have been significant and felt acutely and disproportionately by specific groups of the population, including older people. The evidence nationally and internationally points to the vulnerability to COVID-19 of those living in residential care. An inquiry must establish whether planning for these vulnerable groups was considered on an equal basis to other demographics in relation to early Government COVID-19 planning. To have public confidence an inquiry must be independent, rights-based, have a legal basis and report to the Oireachtas’.

ENDS

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PAW Raffle Winners

Thank you all for your patience during the last number of weeks and for your understanding that due to the COVID-19 crisis we were not in a position to hold the Positive Ageing Week Raffle. Today, we were finally able to do the draw and we list below the lucky winners.

We wish the winners well and trust they will have a happy time spending their winnings. It certainly brightened up their day when we told them earlier. Thanks again to all those who entered as all proceeds from the raffle will help us to continue to provide much needed services to older people over the coming months.

Keep safe and well.

1st Prize - €1500 -  V. McGowne.  Dublin.

2nd Prize - €1000 – A. Smyth.  Dublin.

3rd Prize - €500 – B. O’Brien.  Cork.

Sellers Prize - €100 – M. Moran.  Kerry.