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Saturday 1 October 2016

Children forced to stay in adult psychiatric units

Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30

'A third inspection of the acute psychiatric unit in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin showed five children were admitted' Stock image: PA Wire
'A third inspection of the acute psychiatric unit in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin showed five children were admitted' Stock image: PA Wire

The admission of children to adult psychiatric hospitals and the overuse of physical restraint of patients have been criticised in a series of reports by the Inspector of Mental Hospitals.

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An inspection of St Loman's Hospital in Mullingar found a child was admitted to the adult facility even though it had no access to child advocacy service.

All staff who looked after the child on a one-to-one basis in a single room were garda-vetted but no nursing staff had received training in child protection.

The unannounced inspection also found that just 20 staff out of 47 were trained in the therapeutic management of violence and aggression.

One patient had been physically restrained in their best interests but there was no evidence they were informed of the reasons why the action was taken.

A separate inspection of Avonmore and Glencree units in Newcastle Hospital, in Wicklow, found that three children were admitted to the adult centre.

The children had to stay in the facility for between one and 21 days, the Mental Health Commission report revealed.

The watchdog said that security staff who did not have access to resident care and treatment plans were used in the physical restraint of two patients.

A third inspection of the acute psychiatric unit in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin showed five children were admitted.

The children were each admitted to a single room and a nurse was assigned to provide one-to-one observation.

Seclusion

However, while in the centre the children were under the case of the adult psychiatry teams.

Inspectors who visited the child and adolescent unit in Merlin Park, in Galway, criticised the seclusion room where young patients were placed.

The Willows seclusion room did not meet with standards and had graffiti on the walls.

The inspector said that there was no shower in the en suite bathroom, the report revealed.

Irish Independent

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