Judge told daughter fears Covid-19 risk to mother in care home
Posted on 21st April 2020 at 21:25
Concern that parent’s room on a corridor in which all rooms being serviced by same staff
A woman has brought a High Court application over concerns her elderly mother is at risk of contracting coronavirus, also know as Covid-19, in her nursing home.
The woman’s mother, aged in her nineties, is a ward of court.
Patricia Hickey, as general solicitor for wards of court, was previously appointed as the committee to represent the mother’s interests in circumstances where her adult children disagreed between themselves on aspects of her care.
On Tuesday, Nuala Jackson SC, for one of the daughters, said her client was concerned for her mother’s safety from Covid-19.
The mother has her own room in the nursing home. But her daughter’s concerns include that her room is on a corridor with other rooms, some of which house residents who have tested positive for Covid-19, said counsel. The mother was tested last Friday for the virus but had yet to receive a test result, she added.
Her client’s concerns include that the mother’s room is on a corridor in which all the rooms are being serviced by the same healthcare staff as people who have tested positive for the virus, said counsel.
This very much heightened the urgency of the situation and she wanted permission to serve short notice of an application to determine how best the ward can be protected from Covid-19 and to temporarily move her, said counsel.
While there had been contact between her client and the nursing home about these matters, the information provided to date was “very unsatisfactory”.
Natalie McDonnell, for Ms Hickey, said the general solicitor was satisfied, based on a report received from an independent social worker, with the nursing home care being provided to the ward. Arising from the Covid-19 situation, there may be difficulties and delays in securing an updated report, she said.
Ms McDonnell stressed it was “essential” the Health Service Executive should be put on notice of this application because, while the court has oversight of the woman’s care, the HSE is ultimately responsible for it.
A risk assessment is required to see if an alternative care plan is possible and if a move from the nursing home is a realistic possibility, said counsel. The woman has special assistance on a two-to-one basis as of now, she added.
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys directed that the HSE and other parties, including the ward’s other children, be put on notice of the application and returned the matter to Thursday.
There may be “no solutions, only trade-offs”, and the various options will have to be considered, he said.
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