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Meath nursing home closed down over fears for residents

A nursing home in Co Meath closed at lunchtime after the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) secured an order removing it from its register.

Drogheda District Court was told that HIQA had grave concerns over the health and safety of the seven elderly residents at the Creevelea Nursing Home in Laytown. The court heard that the HSE was so worried that it had put in permanent monitoring staff to ensure their safety.

The order was granted this morning after the nursing home's owner, Peter Murphy, withdrew his objection against the legal action. The registration was cancelled from 1pm.

The HSE has made alternative arrangements for the residents.

Counsel for the nursing home said the consent was being made without any admission of liablity.

Two weeks ago, Drogheda District Court was also told that inspectors found the heating was not working properly, putting some residents at risk of hypothermia, and the only fresh food found in the premises by inspectors was one bag of potatoes and a turnip.

In addition, inspectors said that a total of 19 falls by residents had been recorded over a six-week period.

The home had also been broken into three times, the premises was found to be "not clean" and there were "serious concerns" about the health and welfare of residents.

The evidence was given to the court by a HIQA inspector on 20 June during an application to cancel Creevelea's registration. Mr Murphy had opposed the application.

HIQA says it has "serious concerns" about the lack of governance, clinical management, lack of staff training and the lack of any person in charge as required by regulation.

HIQA inspector Nuala Rafferty said the first inspection took place in March last year after a relative of a resident raised concerns about his care.

Ms Rafferty said that inspectors found "nobody running" the home and "nobody overseeing the management of residents". She said Mr Murphy, director of Creevelea House Ltd, lived in Limerick and there was no emergency plan in place.

A staff nurse who worked 24 hours a week was the person other staff contacted if there was a problem, even if she was not working, the court heard.

HIQA inspectors issued Mr Murphy with an emergency action plan but she said he did not seem to be aware of the level of concerns they had. He felt the inspectors were creating problems for him and he felt bullied and intimidated.

In April, in court, Mr Murphy agreed to comply with a number of HIQA demands. However at the hearing last month the authority said that, while there had been some improvements, it still believed there was a "serious risk" to the remaining residents.