May 23, 2022


The Interior Breakfast

Galway nursing home hit by ‘tidal wave’ of Covid-19 appeals for help after 12 residents die from virus

A nursing home in Galway is appealing for help from nurses after a quarter of its residents died from Covid-19.

Brian McNamara, director of nursing at Greenpark Nursing Home in Tuam, said it has been “hit by a horrific tidal wave” of the virus.

The care home had no coronavirus cases in 2020, however January 2021 has been a completely different story.

Out of 49 residents, 35 tested positive for the virus while 12 tragically died. In the past 24 hours, four people have died.

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Half the staff has also been diagnosed with the virus, leaving Mr McNamara worried about not having enough staff.

“We have been hit by a horrific tidal wave. A week before we were due to get our vaccine our first resident test positive for Covid-19, it’s been absolutely horrendous,” he told RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime.

“It’s like you are fighting something you can’t see and it’s just so heartbreaking, it rips your soul clean out of you.

“It’s so hard to see these people, they might have had small things wrong, but they weren’t ready to die and to be so cruelly taken away by this horrible disease, it’s indescribable.

“Tuam is a small community…it’s so gut-wrenching.”

Mr McNamara said his “biggest fear” is that the centre is running low on nursing staff, so he is appealing to anyone that can help.

“I’m desperately trying to get more nurses in through the agencies. The agencies are fantastic, they’ve provided us with healthcare assistants but nurses seems to be short,” he said.

“We need nursing help if we can get it, if there’s people out there who want to help we would gladly accept their help.”

He pleaded with the public to follow public health guidance, and to continue this even after receiving the vaccine, explaining that three out of four of his residents who died in the past 24 hours received their first dose of the vaccine.

Mary Murphy, whose mother died in Greenpark Nursing Home two weeks ago, said the hardest part was saying goodbye to her through a window.

“The last time I got to spend actual physical time with her was on Christmas Day and that’s the hardest part. In Ireland we have normal ways of having a funeral, everybody gets to say goodbye, and that all had to be done between a window that couldn’t even be opened,” she said.

“And that’s the hardest thing…it all happened too fast, nobody got enough time with her.”