Wednesday 28 September 2016

Lack of staff at disability home 'poses risk' - report

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 30/10/2015 | 02:30

The Brothers of Charity-run Elm House in Waterford cares for older residents with moderate to profound intellectual disability and high dependency nursing needs
The Brothers of Charity-run Elm House in Waterford cares for older residents with moderate to profound intellectual disability and high dependency nursing needs

A lack of staff at a centre for people with a disability forced inspectors to issue an immediate action plan due to the risks to residents, a new report has revealed.

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The Brothers of Charity-run Elm House in Waterford cares for older residents with moderate to profound intellectual disability and high dependency nursing needs.

However, just one member of staff - a nurse - was on duty to look after the residents at night, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found.

The lack of staff meant that residents were largely confined to the centre and had little access to outside activities or trips.

The inspectors, who made an announced visit in September, said staff were extremely busy on both days they were there and they could not meet the assessed needs of residents.

Staff were knowledgeable about each residents' needs and interacted with them in a respectful and dignified manner.

However, two of the staff did not have fire training.

"Inspectors issued an immediate action plan on the staffing levels and were assured at the feedback meeting that extra staff would be made available that night."

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Mental Health Commission, the psychiatric services' watchdog, found weaknesses at the Sycamore unit in Connolly Hospital in Dublin which cares for people with dementia.

The inspectors, who made an unannounced visit to the unit in July, found eight elderly residents were being looked after there. All had a "do not attempt resuscitation" order on their files which was a condition of their admission.

This had been discussed with the residents' relatives prior to admission.

However, there was no process for offering support to staff and residents in the event of an unexpected or sudden death.

Residents

A policy on care of the dying was dated July 2015 but it made no provision for advanced directives or "do not attempt resuscitation" orders, despite this applying to all residents.

There was no audit of the processes involved in end-of-life care, and no analysis of care for the dying to improve systems, said the report.

The report said that "apart from some hanging baskets" provided by a resident's relative at the entrance of the building, there were just weedy, dead plants to be seen.

The report said that a visitors' room was available to people who wanted to sleep over if a resident was dying.

Irish Independent

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