Gowran nursing home inundated with offers of help and support

'Tiring and exhausting but we are going to come out of the other end of this'

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews




Gowran Abbey Nursing Home

The manager of a Covid-stricken Kilkenny nursing home has hailed the public and local businesses for an outpouring of support and offers of help in dealing with the crisis.

Gowran Abbey Nursing Home was hit by an outbreak of the virus in the run-up to Christmas, with 31 residents and 19 staff testing positive. They appealed for support — and were met with hundreds of phone calls from the public and local businesses offering assistance, laundry and bedsheets, allowing staff to be redeployed from laundry to other duties.

Manager at the nursing home Mairead Parker Byrne said the number of people who got in touch was incredible.

“The support we have received is fantastic,” she said.

Ms Parker Byrne also said staff had gone ‘above and beyond’, and that the HSE, including Barbara Murphy (services for older people), the public health team, and HIQA had all stepped up to help out in the hour of need.

“The supposed ‘9-5’ workers were still communicating with me at 11/12 at night,” she said.

“The understanding and support of the residents has been brilliant as well. It has been a painful Christmas, but the resilience of the staff and residents has kept us all going.”

A team of nurses from the HSE gave up their time over Christmas to come in and work in the nursing home, knowing they would then have to self-isolate afterward. The staff at the nursing home is now back to its full complement.

“From the minute we knew there was going to be a problem, the HSE were there with me in advance,” said Ms Parker Byne.

“Then everything fell into place. It was tiring and exhausting but we are going to come out of the other end of this, thanks to the staff and the residents.

“The people of Kilkenny and Carlow came through with so much support and encouragement, and it meant so much. We’re not through it yet but we’re on the road and we will get through it. It is going very much in the right direction.

“Thank you to everyone for their messages of kindness and the tremendous support we’ve received.”

The nursing home manager urged people to stay the course and do their best.

“We see a light at the end of the tunnel, and the vaccine isn’t too far away. But a word of caution — there is no time for complacency. We have to protect our vulnerable people, hunker down now, hold firm and stay safe,” she said.