Health

Thursday 31 July 2014

Inspectors slam conditions at home for mental patients

FINANCIAL arrangements in a community residence for people with a mental illness were not transparent, an inspectors' report has found.

Staff at the HSE-run Cypress Lodge in Sligo spent "considerable amounts of money" on items every week for residents but they were without receipts being signed or adequate records kept.

"Communal clothes, including unlabelled underwear, were in use although staff said this was for emergencies only," the report of inspectors from the Mental Health Commission revealed.

The lodge is situated in a rural area and was in need of refurbishment. It was opened to facilitate the discharge of residents of the acute service 22 years ago, some of whom were still there.

"There were few activities for residents who did not attend day services outside the house. There had been no organised group outings during the summer of 2013," the report said.

Two residents were able to go to the cinema or shopping in town but others were dependent on being accompanied by staff. However, this depended on availability and was infrequent.

The dining area and the adjoining sitting room were comfortable and well furnished. However, elsewhere, paint work was peeling and grubby in places. Some rooms were bare and cold.

"In all, the environment did not provide a comfortable and respectful living space for residents," the report said.

"Staff reported that their jobs were 'task oriented' and left them with little time for therapeutic interventions."

The inspectors set out an action plan for the HSE. The HSE said it was addressing the deficiencies identified by inspectors during the unannounced visit last October.

Irish Independent

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