Patients in a long-stay HSE-run mental health facility had to bang on the window of a nurses' station to ask for a drink of water after restrictions were imposed on their access to fluids, a damning inspection report has revealed.
Water was also withheld as a "punishment" for some challenging behaviour.
The report on Teach Aisling, in Castlebar, Co Mayo, revealed the nurses' station had closed blinds and there was no other way patients who were desperate for water could get their attention.
Patients in one of the locked areas were without a ready supply of fresh drinking water.
A water ban was also imposed as a "punishment" for challenging behaviour as part of a programme for one resident, inspectors from the Mental Health Commission revealed.The inspectors had serious concerns at the failure to provide therapeutic services and also the absence of recreational activities and resources.
Chief inspector Dr Susan Finnerty, who published five reports yesterday, warned:"Some of our most vulnerable citizens are looked after in these approved centres and they are failing in a number of key areas."
In the Sliabh Mis Mental Health Admission Unit at University Hospital Kerry, some residents on Reask ward were required to share six-bed, dorm-style rooms, which were too cramped.
Bathrooms were not ventilated, were stuffy and had bad odour. Floors were very worn.
The seclusion room was in poor repair and residents in seclusion could not access toilet and shower facilities without entering a public area.