Tuesday 20 March 2018

Nursing home given emergency food in final days

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

EMERGENCY food supplies had to be brought into a private nursing home where there was only one bag of potatoes left just before it was shut down.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) had to find funds to pay staff and buy food, after inspectors found "very limited" supplies at Avondale Nursing Home in Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Yesterday, the state nursing home watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), published six inspection reports, which revealed a litany of failings in the six months before the nursing home's closure.

An investigation is already under way into allegations that the owner of the home, Miriam Holmes, took money from residents before apparently leaving the country. A number of other damning findings were yesterday revealed in inspector Noelene Dowling's report.

These include:

•Ms Holmes had ordered that two terminally ill residents were to be transported to a new home by wheelchair taxi, putting them "at serious risk".

•Four residents were selected for relocation without their own knowledge and without their next-of-kin being informed.

•Families, in some cases, were sent a text message and given 48 hours' notice to find another care home for their relative.

•Ms Holmes had not planned the discharges or communicated with residents, families or GPs and had caused "trauma, upset, medical and mental health risks".

The Irish Independent has been unable to contact Ms Holmes and her daughter, Hayley, since a judge ordered the permanent closure of the home on August 2.

The judge was told how Ms Holmes and her daughter had last been seen boarding a shuttle bus at Dublin airport on July 22.

HIQA carried out a surprise inspection after they were tipped off that residents were being discharged unexpectedly from the home.

Inspectors met with a GP who was responsible for some of the residents, and he said he knew nothing of the discharges until two relatives informed him on July 20. They had been given 24 hours' notice "to remove their relatives". Inspectors found no discharge reports were prepared for residents.

Stocks of food were "very limited" on July 20 -- and inspectors noted that "there was one bag of potatoes". This led to the HSE having to buy basic foods.

Irish Independent

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