HSE Message as Castleisland Facility Converts to Community Assessment Hub

Kealgorm House on Limerick Road, Castleisland which is being prepared as a Covid-19 community assessment hub with removals vans and supplies on Friday. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Castleisland Day Care Centre which now houses the primary care nursing facility. Watercolour by artist, Peter Robin Hill.

As two Castleisland facilities are being prepared to cater for the expected rise in the incidents of the Covid-19 virus, HSE management has issued a message of thanks to the people of the county and country for their support of staff during the current crisis.

Preparations have been ongoing for the past couple of days as Kealgorm House on Castleisland’s Limerick Road is being prepared as a ‘community assessment hub’ where members of the public may present for assessment and testing on the recommendations of their doctor.

Meanwhile, the primary care nursing facility has been moved to Castleisland Day Care Centre – which has been closed to its district wide client base since the outbreak of the virus.

Management from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, the South/South West Hospital Group, the Department of Public Health and the National Ambulance Service said the action of the people of Kerry in recent weeks will save lives, and have given services in the county vital time to prepare.

Area Crisis Management Team

An area Crisis Management Team with representatives of all HSE services has been meeting several times a week since early February to put in place extensive preparations for the impact of Covid-19 on services.

To date, these preparations have included: Increasing bed capacity across the entire healthcare system by refurbishing and reopening buildings in order to provide ICU beds, acute beds, transitional and step-down care.

Putting in place arrangements to open self-isolation facilities should they be needed. We will update the public about these facilities shortly.

Four Testing Centres

Establishing four testing centres across the region. Supporting community response forums set up by local authorities.

Planning to provide community assessment hubs, which will begin to open next week.

These facilities will allow members of the public with Covid-19 whose GP has determined they need a medical examination.

Working with private hospitals to increase bed capacity in the acute hospital system and ensuring critical services continue to be provided.

Most importantly, we are still providing vital services and we are still here for the people of Kerry.

Statement from South/South West Hospital Group CEO, Gerry O’Dwyer

“We thank and commend all our staff for their incredible efforts at this time.

“They have already gone above and beyond the call of duty as our health service faces extraordinary demands,” said Mr. O’Dwyer.

“I am immensely proud of all our staff as they rise to meet the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid-19.

“I want to thank all staff for the inspiring work being carried out in making advanced preparations.

“Every effort has been made prior to this virus arriving in Ireland to ensure that we would be as ready as we could be in the circumstances and in the best possible position to protect and safeguard public health,” said Mr O’Dwyer adding:

“We are working extremely hard to create additional capacity for the health system in the area in the coming weeks and days, and we will update the public as and when plans are confirmed.”

Statement from Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Ger Reaney

Mr. Reaney, who chairs the HSE’s area crisis management team said that they have seen a huge redeployment of staff across their services.

“Our staff have risen to this challenge as they move to screening centres; from desk jobs back to ward duties; and increase their working hours where they can.

“Their efforts will help us to provide care for the people of Kerry,” said Mr Reaney and he added:

“We thank the people of Kerry for their support at this time. That support takes many different forms, and it means so much to our hard-working staff.

“In particular, we want to thank everyone who has helped a healthcare worker with childcare, as every extra hour that you can facilitate a staff member to work is a huge help.”

“With visiting restrictions in place at all hospitals and residential centres, staff are doing everything possible to support patients and residents and to help them keep in contact with relatives and friends.

“We know that visiting restrictions are very difficult, and that some people have not been able to see their loved ones for many weeks now.

“Our staff are doing everything possible to make sure all patients and residents are kept safe and well,” Mr Reaney said.

Acting Director of Public Health, Anne Sheahan

Acting Director of Public Health Anne Sheahan thanked the people of Kerry for adhering to guidelines and staying at home as much as possible.

“Staying at home will help us all to slow the spread of the virus, and that is giving us the opportunity to prepare all parts of the service.

“We would like to remind you that when you leave your home for essential reasons, that you continue to keep two metres apart from anyone not in your household.

“Also, please maintain regular hand washing, regular cleaning of surfaces and always remember to catch your coughs and colds. It’s more important now than ever,” said Ms. Sheahan.