Nursing home guidance

Nursing home guidance

HIQA issues new guidelines for nursing homes

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has issued guidelines to ensure nursing homes comply with best practice in protecting residents and staff from COVID-19 and dealing with potential cases if they occur.

The new publication entitled Regulatory assessment framework of the preparedness of designated centre for older people for a COVID-19 outbreak provides information on how HIQA plans to support nursing homes to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak.

The document sets out the supports and resources available to registered providers and designated centres during this public health emergency which have been made available by the Health Service Executive which include:

  • crisis management teams in each CHO area, including infection control specialists
  • access to personal protective equipment for staff working in designated centres
  • the provision of public health advice
  • voluntary re-deployment of staff to designated centres
  • access to testing and results
  • access to specialist medical input such as gerontology.

The document also sets out the every registered provider is required undertake self-assessment of their service under a number of different categories. The self-assessment does not need to be submitted to the Chief Inspector but it must be complete and available on the day of the announced, on-site assessment of compliance with specified regulations which will commence from 29 April 2020.

The self-assessment covers a comprehensive range of criteria including written policies and procedures, staffing, training and staff development, governance and management, healthcare, managing behaviour that is challenging, protection, resident’s rights, visits, risk management, infection control and more.

Some of the key questions are whether the centre has contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of care to residents in the event of a significant shortfall of staff due a COVID-19 outbreak or due to self isolation requirements and also whether staff are appropriately trained in the use and disposal of PPE.

The new guidance document can be accessed here:

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