Monday 26 February 2018

Soiled washing on floor and lack of privacy - Bleak conditions for elderly in HSE-run nursing home revealed

St Josephs Hospital in Ennis
St Josephs Hospital in Ennis

Eilish O’Regan

The bleak living conditions of elderly residents in a HSE-run nursing home are revealed in a damning inspector’s report today.

The residents in the outdated St Joseph’s Hospital Ennis must spend most of their day by their bed and have little privacy.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) took legal proceedings in a bid to prevent new admissions to the outdated 120-bed facility with nightingale wards.

An agreement was recently reached to allow admissions on a temporary basis but the HSE has been given a six month deadline to make improvements.

The findings revealed:

*A lack of space and storage in the centre let to unsafe practices such as eye drops being left on lockers, wound dressings on lockers and soiled clothes stored in blue bags under and next to beds

*The wardrobes were very small: most wardrobes were approximately 0.3 of a metre wide and some of them were half height wardrobes

*As a result there was limited space for residents to store their clothes, which were seen on chairs, on radiators and on windowsills.

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

*Bags of soiled washing were seen stored in blue bags on the floor next to beds, in the wardrobe on top of clean clothes, in blue bags under beds, next to beds and on windowsills

*Residents who had chairs by the bed had no access to wardrobes as due to the lack of space by the bed the chair was located in front of the wardrobe

*In one five bedded room there were four walking aids and two wheelchairs stored which were belonging to residents in the room

These presented a trip hazard to residents due to the lack of storage facilities or space by beds

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

*Washing bowls, body wipes and incontinence wear 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.

In the male ward one resident informed the inspector that a resident was 'very noisy' at night and that he did not want to stay in the centre

*Cardboard boxes of toiletries including sudocream, body spray and other items were stored on top of lockers and in window sills

*Bandages, dressings and wound care items were stored on top of some lockers

*One resident stated that she had very little space for personal items

She had wanted to bring in some items from home but she stated that she was told not to do this as there was no space for these items

*A part empty bottle of sterile water was on the floor by one bed

*Activities had to be held in the bedrooms of the Hazel and Alder units as there was no communal space for residents to gather.

This was confirmed by members of staff.

-Residents had no dining room or sitting room in the two largest units and no place to converse with staff, the doctor or visitors in private

*Small black bags were seen hanging from bed tables. These were used as bins by residents.

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.

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