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Saturday 16 December 2017

Elderly denied dignity in HSE-run home - Hiqa

St Josephs Hospital in Ennis
St Josephs Hospital in Ennis
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The grim living conditions of elderly residents, who are forced to live in an old HSE-run building, deprives them of basic dignity and privacy, a damning inspector's report has revealed.

The residents in the 120-bed St Joseph's Hospital in Ennis, Co Clare, spend most of their days in bed or at their bedside where they also eat their meals.

The conditions were so poor that the inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) tried to get a court order to stop new admissions.

Inspectors who have visited the home on several occasions were dismayed to find an ongoing lack of storage space which led to unsafe practices.

The HSE is paid €1,269 a week for the care of each resident. But inspectors discovered eye drops and wound dressings on lockers, while soiled clothes were stored in blue bags under and next to beds.

The wardrobes were very small and some of them were half height. There was limited space for residents to store their clothes, which were seen on chairs, on radiators and on windowsills.

One woman brought her old-fashioned Singer sewing machine with her from home but there was no place for it except on her locker.

Clothes were also stored in bags on the floor near beds and some were hanging on the outside of wardrobes.

Bags of soiled washing were seen stored in blue bags on the floor next to beds. In one five-bed room, four walking aids and two wheelchairs belonging to residents were stored in the room, presenting a trip hazard.

Incontinence wear was stored on the windowsill in one multi-occupancy room.

Washing bowls, and body wipes were stored on the top of all wardrobes.

Residents with dementia were heard by the inspector to call out at regular intervals: in the female area, one resident stated that the calling annoyed her and kept her awake at night.

One resident stated that she had very little space for personal items. Poignantly, she wanted to wanted to bring in some personal items from home but was told there was no space.

A woman lying on a bed where the bed clothes were pulled down could be seen wearing incontinence wear, in breach of her privacy.

Five oxygen cylinders were stored in one clinic room without adequate signage to alert staff to the presence of combustible material.

Urinals were at the side of beds and one was full even though it was in close proximity to another resident.

The staff were found to be courteous and respectful. Some had even made a flower garden to provide some outside space for the residents, which won a Tidy Towns award. But the home was understaffed and care was rushed.

The inspection, which was carried out in August, led to a demand for a second action plan from the HSE to address issues. Sections of the action plan were not acceptable to the Chief Inspector.

Irish Independent

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