'No seats' in hospital unit after €1.2m makeover
Patients in a psychiatric unit which had a €1.2m refurbishment were left with no seating area, no dining facility and limited space to walk around, an inspectors' report has revealed.
The 10 patients in the acute section of the psychiatric unit at University Hospital Waterford were very unwell but had to live in surroundings which were "not therapeutic for anyone resident over a lengthy period of time", the report warned.
"This was regrettable as a resident might be confined to an acute area for many months," the Mental Health Commission said.
While the majority of patients in the unit were up and dressed during the inspection, a number of residents in the acute unit had to wear nightclothes.
Recreational spaces in other areas were excellent but the patients in the acute unit were either lying on their beds or walking around the corridor or courtyard on the two days of inspection.
Eight children had been admitted to the adult centre with one having to stay for a number of weeks.
A separate inspection of St Michael's unit in Mercy Hospital, in Cork, found one resident was naked in a single room which opened onto the sitting room area. The resident was "clearly visible" through the observation panel of the door, which was insufficiently obscured. The inspectors told staff a more private room should be made available to the resident and that the situation be rectified immediately.
The blinds on the windows were broken in most of the bedrooms and residents were visible through the windows. The inspectors were informed subsequent to the inspection that blinds had now been put in place.
There was also "carelessness evident in prescriptions, to the point that one prescription was unsigned and undated."
The inspectors said it appeared that nursing staff were unaware of how to fill in the administration record.
The unit is not suitable as a mental health unit because of its layout and size, while having no outdoor space. "The inspectors were all concerned at the lack of privacy given to the residents in their bedrooms," it stated.
Another inspection report of Linn Dara, Ballyfermot, Dublin, an in-patient unit for children and adolescents with mental illness, found that due to the management and care of some residents who displayed behaviour that was difficult to manage, security staff had been involved in physical restraint on two occasions.
At the time of inspection, only six of the 14 beds were operational due to refurbishment works. There was a very good range of therapeutic services.