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HIQA criticises Carrick nursing home

Inspectors have found some older residents at a HSE-run nursing home had not received a bath or shower for a month or more.

According to a report in today’s Irish Times, the finding is contained in a highly critical report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) into St Patrick’s Community Hospital in Carrick on Shannon.

The newspaper says the authority found while residents were offered a shower or bath once every two weeks, there were occasions when there were not sufficient staff to provide the service.

Overall, the 85-bed hospital – which was inspected over a two-day period in March of this year – was found to be in breach of 12 of the 18 standards it was inspected against.

The report notes that nursing home management had not taken appropriate action to address a series of shortcomings indentified in previous reports.

In the latest inspection, it found a shortage of care staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience to meet the assessed needs of residents.

While there was evidence to show staffing levels during the daytime had improved, the number of staff in the evening and at night was inadequate to meet residents’ needs.

Inspectors also found some residents were permanently bedbound due to a lack of suitable chairs or mobility assessments.

In addition, there was no activities co-ordinator available to organise activities for residents.

The layout and design of the property – such as dormitory style bedrooms – was also found to affect care standards, along with residents’ privacy and dignity.

In most of these shared rooms, there were no hand-washing facilities available for staff or residents.

A large number of issues were highlighted in each of the four wards such as damaged furniture, lack of space/storage, not enough toilet or shower facilities to meet patients’ needs.

A significant number of falls were recorded at the centre and some residents had fallen repeatedly and were not adequately protected from further injury.

Fire safety lapses emerged as another key concern. Hiqa inspectors said fire evacuation and personal evacuation plans were not in place, and fire safety equipment had not been installed despite pledges to do so.

In one unit, for example, fire-doors were not connected to the fire alarm system and there was no magnetic door release to ensure they closed and compartmentalised in the event of a fire.

On a more positive note, there were significant improvements in the quality of food and nutrition provided to residents.

In staffing, care staff numbers at two of the units had been increased so that adequate staffing was available to those with high support needs.

Residents and family members told inspectors they were happy with the services provided by this hospital, but were concerned about the inadequate staffing in the centre.

Among the comments made to inspectors included were that “urses have little time for anything apart from basic nursing care, because they are so short staffed” and that “staff are run off their feet yet they still try to give of their time to visitors”.

Inspectors reported there was a need to develop a comprehensive training and education schedule, particularly training in the protection of vulnerable adults, managing behaviours that challenge, fire, wound care management and infection control.

Nursing home managment has pledged to tackle all the highlighted shortcomings with a time-frame set by the authority, according to the Irish Times report.

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