Thursday 21 June 2018

Treatment of anorexia patients was unsafe, report finds

Some of the residents had continuing weight loss, neutropenia, cardiac abnormalities, hypoglycaemia and electrolyte abnormalities when transferred to Beaumont Hospital emergency department. Stock Image: Niall Carson/PA
Some of the residents had continuing weight loss, neutropenia, cardiac abnormalities, hypoglycaemia and electrolyte abnormalities when transferred to Beaumont Hospital emergency department. Stock Image: Niall Carson/PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Some of the care and treatment of seriously physically ill patients with anorexia nervosa admitted to the Lois Bridges treatment facility in Sutton, Dublin, was inadequate and unsafe, according to an inspector's report.

The inspection, which was carried out in December by the Mental Health Commission, led to a ban on the admission of adults who are very sick.

The watchdog said that following annual inspection in March 2017 and a focused inspection in August 2017, there had been ongoing concerns about the safety of residents, risk management, and staffing centre.

In December, it found problems with staffing and risk management procedures, particularly in relation to seriously, physically ill residents with anorexia nervosa.

The centre did not have sufficient medical support in place for very physically unwell patients and did not safely treat and care for them.

The report said: "Staffing in Lois Bridges remained at unsafe levels. There was only one consultant psychiatrist who was also the clinical director.

"There was no other medical input apart from the local GP. The consultant psychiatrist provided regular input two days a week and also worked in another health care facility."

Warned

However, it warned that 16 hours of consultant psychiatrist input on-site per week was not sufficient to meet the needs of up to seven in-patients, especially if some of them had severe and complex eating disorders associated with high clinical risk.

It employed just one health care assistant and one nurse on duty for day and night. A registered psychiatric nurse was also not always on duty.

Some of the residents had continuing weight loss, neutropenia, cardiac abnormalities, hypoglycaemia and electrolyte abnormalities when transferred to Beaumont Hospital emergency department.

The liaison psychiatrists and gastroenterologist in the hospital described the residents as "critically ill" and not transferred in a timely manner.

Following the inspection, the commission attached three conditions to the registration of Lois Bridges, including the complete prohibition on the admission of seriously physically unwell residents.

"The commission has met with the service and is closely monitoring its improvement plans," it added.

Irish Independent

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