Monday 19 March 2018

Another state-funded home fails to protect elderly residents

Serious shortcomings have been uncovered in another HSE-run nursing home
Serious shortcomings have been uncovered in another HSE-run nursing home

Eilish O'Regan and Lise Hand

Serious shortcomings, including a lack of safeguards for elderly people's personal finances and medication care, have been uncovered in another state-funded nursing home.

The criticisms are contained in the report of an unannounced inspection of New Ross Community Hospital in Wexford last month by staff from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

It is run by community  trust and funded by the HSE.

Hiqa was forced to call senior management to its headquarters in Dublin after inspectors discovered a series of actions to safeguard and improve the quality of life of its elderly residents - which they ordered in February - had largely been ignored.

The latest critical report follows shock revelations about conditions in another home, St Patrick's Community Hospital in Summerhill, Co Leitrim, where elderly residents were at times left without a shower or bath for more than a month because of problems such as staff shortages.

The report on the New Ross facility, which had multi-bedded wards, did not have systems in place to safeguard residents' finances which were sufficiently robust and they needed immediate review.

On the previous visit the staff were informed they should have training in elder abuse, but the deadline had not been met.

Nurses were also continuing to fail to follow professional guidance in relation to medication transcriptions and prescriptions.

Medications which needed to be crushed were not individually prescribed by the GP.

It was also to submit a costed and time-bound plan on improving the lack of private space and storage space for residents, but this had failed to materialise.

A promise to convert the smoking room into a visiting room was also not followed up.

Meanwhile, Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch, who has responsibility for care of the elderly, said yesterday that Hiqa had highlighted unacceptable practices in St Patrick's Community Hospital.

"It is intolerable that a basic thing like access to showers is not facilitated and this needs to be addressed immediately in St Patrick's with every resident through their care plan. It is my expectation that an action plan is put in place and acted on without delay."

Irish Independent

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