Staff at a nursing home in Dundalk are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder after around a quarter its residents died from COVID-19 in the space of a month.
Twenty-two residents died from confirmed or suspected COVID-19 at Dealgan House nursing home in April.
The home’s Assistant Director of Nursing Dolores Conroy says the home suffered a staffing crisis as the virus took hold – with 13 nurses and most of the management staff out sick.
She said she begged authorities for help as “things really started getting to crisis levels.”
“They knew we were in crisis,” she said. “We were in crisis from Monday April 6th – everybody knew we were in crisis.
“HIQA was asked for help. I begged them for help on April 6th. I asked them for Ireland on Call. I was not only managing the nursing home; I was also a nurse on the floor with no management in the building.”
Ms Conroy said staff have been “really struggling” in the weeks since.
“The staff that were here at the time were devastated with the loss because the residents are like our families and we see more of the residents than we do of our own families,” she said.
“The staff were hysterical here during the deaths because some days we had two deaths. Some people had no symptoms and just went to sleep and never woke up.
“Staff are still struggling with the after-effects, with panic attacks, with post-traumatic stress and some of our staff still have post-viral symptoms even now after having the COVID.”
She said nursing homes were “let down really badly” by the HSE – both in terms of the length of time it took to get results and the lack of nursing support.