Wednesday 23 October 2019

Inspector criticises mechanical restraint use by hospital on mental health patients

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The use of mechanical restraint on a number of mental health patients in a public psychiatric hospital has been criticised in a new inspection report.

Dr Susan Finnerty, inspector of Mental Health Services said in the St Gabriel's ward, St Canice's Hospital, Kilkenny, there were a significant number of deficits in the use of mechanical restraint for enduring risk of harm to self or others.

"There was no identified clinical need for mechanical restraint documented.

"There was no record specifying less restrictive alternatives were unsuitable; clinical files of the two residents did not record that less restrictive alternatives were implemented without success."

Residents were restricted from leaving the centre and the entrance door was locked to ensure the safety of residents who had cognitive impairment.

However, restrictive practice was also imposed on residents who did not have cognitive impairment.

"The garden area was also locked but residents who were not at risk of falling were given access at all times during the day. Visitors could be received in a private area and there were no restrictions on visiting," the Mental Health Commission report found.

Bed screening was insufficient and affected residents' privacy.

Some bedrooms were overlooked by public areas with no screening. The noticeboard at the nurses' station detailed resident names, which could be seen by passersby.

There were loose pages in the clinical files, which contained resident identifiers and clinical information and, therefore, this information was not secure within the files, the report added.

The inspectors also found that not all staff had up-to-date mandatory training in certain areas, and the skill mix was not appropriate to the assessed needs of the residents.

Irish Independent

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