Saturday 23 February 2019

Fire safety risks not addressed at Cork nursing home, watchdog finds

HIQA inspectors were not assured residents of Kanturk Community Hospital could be safely evacuated in the event of a fire.

HIQA published the findings of 56 nursing home reports on Tuesday (Kirsty O’Connor)
HIQA published the findings of 56 nursing home reports on Tuesday (Kirsty O’Connor)

By Michelle Devane, Press Association  

The Health Service Executive failed to address fire safety risks at a Co Cork nursing home, a new report by the health watchdog has found.

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspectors said they were “not assured” that all residents of the HSE-run Kanturk Community Hospital could be safely evacuated in the event of a fire.

Inspectors at Kanturk Community Hospital found “a failure to progress remedial works required to address fire safety risks”.

They also said there was “a failure to take all necessary action to improve the privacy and dignity of residents”.

According to the report: “The evidence of this inspection and documentation reviewed demonstrated the absence of a coherent approach on the part of the HSE in addressing fire safety risks while upholding and improving the privacy and dignity of residents living in the centre.”

It also said: “Inspectors were not assured that the provider had adequate arrangements in place to ensure that all residents could be safely evacuated. This was a repeat finding.”

HIQA published the findings of 56 nursing home reports on Tuesday.

Evidence of non-compliance was found at 24 of the 56 centres inspected.

While the watchdog said inspectors found evidence of “good practice and compliance with regulations and standards at 32 centres and the residents’ needs were being met, that was not the case for 24 of the units”.

Kanturk Community Hospital was among the worst offenders for non-compliance.

The inspection of the 40-bed facility on the outskirts of Kanturk town took place in November. It was the fourth inspection to be carried out at the centre last year.

The HIQA report described the management’s response to the “poor findings” outlined during the previous inspections as “inadequate”.

Long-term residents continued to be accommodated in situations which adversely impacted their daily quality of life, privacy and dignity HIQA

The watchdog said the HSE had failed to implement its own compliance plan  and “did not take the necessary measures to ensure that the service was safe, appropriate, consistent and effectively monitored”.

“Long-term residents continued to be accommodated in situations which adversely impacted their daily quality of life, privacy and dignity and personnel records reviewed did not contain An Garda Siochana vetting disclosures in accordance with the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012,” the report said.

While staff training had been conducted, inspectors said there was no system to determine if training to ensure the protection of residents was understood and implemented.

Inspectors also found that national standards for infection control were not demonstrated.

They added: “Daily routines and practices did not reflect the fact that the centre was a person’s home or recognise that while health impacts quality of life, it should not define quality of life for residents.”

In a statement the HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, which delivers community services in Cork and Kerry, said it acknowledged the “serious issues” raised in the HIQA report.

“We want residents and their loved ones to know that we are taking these reports very seriously and are acting to bring about improvements at Kanturk Community Hospital,” a spokeswoman said.

“Improvements were made on foot of previous reports, but some of the steps taken didn’t have their full impact as quickly as we would have liked.

“We acted as soon as it became evident that further action was needed, and a significant programme of change is now well underway at the community hospital.

“Kanturk Community Hospital is already moving towards a vastly improved environment and experience for residents.”

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare added: “A high-level group of senior managers from across Cork and Kerry has been set up to oversee and support the staff at Kanturk Community Hospital as they continue to bring about the changes and improvements which need to take place.”

“This report does not reflect our values, or the standard of care we strive to provide for residents at all community hospitals.

“We are committed to working with HIQA to ensure that we address the issues raised.”

Press Association

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