Thursday 29 September 2016

Psychiatric unit facilities criticised in report by inspectors

Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30

Mayo General Hospital
Mayo General Hospital

Patients in the psychiatric unit of a hospital were forced to spend the night sleeping in a sitting room, an inspectors report has revealed.

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The inspection of the psychiatric unit in Mayo General Hospital found two patients had to spend the night in the sitting room; one in the high dependency unit.

One resident had been admitted to the approved centre in the days prior to the inspection and had spent three nights in an extra bed in the middle of a five-bedded ward with no curtains or privacy.

A separate inspection of the psychiatric unit at University Hospital Galway found male patients had to walk through a female bedroom in order to access toilets and showers.

The inspection also revealed that one patient reported having to share two toilets with 18 others.

"The physical environment of the approved centre did not enable the residents to engage in meaningful occupations. There was a lack of space for the residents and the environment was very busy and noisy," said the Mental Health Commission report. "It had worn paint, malodourous toilets, furniture stored on the corridors and urinals in a poor state of repair."

A separate inspection of the psychiatric unit in Mercy Hospital in Cork found patients had no outdoor space for recreation.

There were no adequate wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities and just two showers in the sub-acute unit to accommodate 32 residents, one of which was wheelchair accessible. There were two showers in the acute unit to accommodate 18 residents and one was out order for 11 days.

The inspectors gave all the hospitals an action plan for improvement, with some of the issues already addressed.

Meanwhile, inspectors from the patient safety watchdog Hiqa have highlighted how vulnerable residents of a disability centre were left at risk.

The inspection of the centre run by the St John of God service in Wicklow did not properly protect two residents who had a history of eating inedible objects.

The report of the November inspection found one of these residents did not have their environment risk-assessed to ensure they were not put in danger. The inspectors found latex gloves were left in one of the bathrooms even though they were supposed to be locked out of harm's way.

Concern was also expressed about the care of a resident who was prone to falls. They suffered a fracture in July 2014 and had four recorded falls prior to this. They suffered two more falls in the summer of 2015 and, although uninjured, a risk assessment was not carried out.

Systems for monitoring residents' healthcare needs also required improvement.

One resident who was very slight and needed to be weighed every two to four weeks was not checked from October to February last because the weighing scales was broken.

The provider was given a series of timed actions to address the problems to ensure the issues were addressed.

Irish Independent

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