The Health Service Executive is taking over a north Kerry nursing home on foot of a court order sought at Listowel District Court today.

Susan Cliff, deputy chief inspector of social services with the Health Information and Quality Authority, told the court a HIQA team entered Oaklands nursing home at Derry, Listowel on 4 November on foot of residents testing positive for Covid-19.

They found "a centre in chaos" with residents "wandering unsupervised" and those who tested positive were mingling with non-positive residents.

Some staff had tested positive and were asymptomatic and residents were not notified. Residents with "classic" Covid-19 symptoms - coughs and temperatures - were not being monitored. 

"Alarm bells should have been firing off in this centre and it didn't happen," Ms Cliff told Judge David Waters.

There were "no restrictions or checks on people coming or going" to the care home. When inspectors entered the home on 4 November, there were no checks. 

"It was a centre in chaos on that day," she replied to Judge Waters .

There were concerns about medication management, the deputy chief inspector outlined to the court.

The IT system was out of order and there was nothing to back it up. End-of-life medication prescriptions were out of date, Ms Cliff said.

This meant patients may not get the medication required to make them comfortable in their last days, she explained to HIQA counsel, Brian Gageby.

Ms Cliff told the court there had already been "a high level of concern" about Oaklands with seven inspections by HIQA so far this year when normally, two visits would be the "maximum" rate.

When inspectors visited on 30 September last, they found a poor culture of care and there were very "specific issues," she said.

There were no empty rooms for patients who might test positive for Covid-19 and "all staff were in contact with all patients" the court heard.

Ms Cliff said there was no proper supervision of care of residents and there were concerns surrounding meal times.

Judge Waters said he was satisfied there was "serious risk to life and welfare of persons in the centre".

He granted an application cancelling the registration of the company operating Oaklands, Bolden (Nursing) Ltd as the registered provider of a nursing home.

The respondent, Bolden Ltd, was not represented but there was consent to the application, the court heard.

The HSE will take over Oaklands nursing home in Listowel and make alternative arrangements for the residents. Around 36 people are believed to be living there.