Hand hygiene at hospital criticised by watchdog
Breaches of hand-washing and hygiene standards at a major hospital have been criticised by the health watchdog.
During an inspection, hand-washing in parts of Cork University Hospital was well below acceptable levels.
And a patient had to use a newspaper to cover a cracked window to protect himself from the wind at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) uncovered maintenance and hygiene problems in the Cork and Limerick hospitals.
The problems, described as "high-risk" hygiene issues, were revealed in a HIQA report following unannounced inspections last November.
In the case of the 800-bed CUH, high risks were identified over hygiene practices on Ward 3B and the cleanliness of patient equipment.
HIQA warned the approach to hand hygiene was "fragmented across the hospital campus".
One CUH ward was found not to have enough alcohol-rub dispensers.
In one location hand rubs had been removed because of a possible fire threat due to electrical beds.
And in another case, temperature probe holders were found to be unclean while commodes were dirty, mattresses were stained and dust was found on key patient equipment.
The report found that while the Health Service Executive aims for a 90pc hand hygiene compliance rate, CUH achieved only 74.8pc last year.
"Hand-hygiene compliance observed by HIQA in the (CUH) recovery area in theatre during the November inspection was poor, with only 33pc (four out of 12) of the opportunities being taken."
CUH's Ward 3B had a cluster of patients last September suffering from a multi-drug-resistant organism but, despite this, poor hand hygiene audits were noted on the ward.
UHL had ordered "a deep clean" to tackle the ward issues highlighted by the November inspections.
In the 364-bed UHL, HIQA inspectors found hygiene to be "particularly poor". This was despite the fact UHL has a historic problem with Carbapenem Producing Enterobacteriacea, a drug-resistant bacteria.
Inspectors found unacceptably high levels of dust on Ward 1D, poor management of sanitary facilities, stains on curtains by patient beds and dirty equipment.
"Sticky residue and staining were also present on blood-pressure monitoring equipment and on the surface of a resuscitation trolley," the report said.
HIQA said both CUH and UHL have shown a marked improvement in follow-up inspections conducted in January.
And a patient bothered by the wind used a newspaper to cover a crack in a window in UHL.
HIQA was told the broken window was logged on the maintenance system for several months.