01 Jul 2022

Nursing home memory tree remembers Covid deaths in Kilkenny

Touching tribute

Kilkenny Kilkenny

File pic

Residents of a Kilkenny nursing home who passed away from Covid-19 have been honoured and are fondly remembered by those who cared for them in their final days.

Frontline staff have also been included in a touching tribute.

The coronavirus entered Gowran Abbey Nursing Home last winter, just weeks before residents were due to be vaccinated. Thirty-one residents and 17 staff members contracted Covid-19; six residents died.

HIQA inspectors who visited the nursing home last May said that while the staff were traumatised, they had remained committed to providing care to the residents.

The inspectors spoke to residents and staff on their visit and said that staff were emotional when talking about the exposure to critical events such as death, fear of being infected, infecting their families and its consequences on their own health. However, they had learned how to work closely together and support each other.

Staff of the nursing home told inspectors that when residents passed away, they were never left alone. Staff accommodated families to stay with them, providing them with necessary PPE equipment.

“The staff stayed committed in honouring all residents who sadly passed away in the centre during the pandemic and all front-line staff working through the pandemic. They had created a ‘Memory tree’ with the names of these residents written on hearts hanging from the tree. They keep a battery-operated candle in front of the tree in memory of these residents and front-line staff.”

Inspectors recognised some examples of good practice in the management of Covid-19, in their overall report.

Gowran Abbey was one of three Kilkenny nursing homes recently visited by HIQA - Prague House in Freshford and Tinnypark Nursing Home on the outskirts of Kilkenny City were also inspected. Neither nursing home had experienced any Covid-19 infections.
The full reports can be read on

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