Monday 18 December 2017

Residents of care home to be moved over safety concerns

Eilish O'Regan and Barry Duggan

A 95-YEAR-OLD woman in a private nursing home at the centre of a closure order fell out of bed twice and broke bones in her legs, it emerged last night.

The elderly woman is among 13 residents at the Upton House nursing home in Clara, Co Offaly, who are to be transferred in the coming weeks after a temporary court order was secured by a safety watchdog.

A 58-year-old man was also found in an incoherent state at the home and left for five hours before being hospitalised, where he had to undergo surgery for an internal bleed.

The safety of the residents led the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to seek an interim order for the home's closure at a sitting of Portlaoise District Court on Thursday evening.

Health Service Executive nurses have now been moved in to help run the home and they will remain there until all the residents have been moved.

The closure followed a series of inspections in recent years that found serious deficiencies in the care of residents, the general state of repair of the home and its standard of cleanliness.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen, a native of Clara, whose aunt is a resident in the home, told the Irish Independent he only learnt about the court order involving Upton House yesterday.

When asked if his aunt was one of the residents affected, Mr Cowen replied that "everyone is entitled to their confidentiality".


The home was inspected four times by the safety watchdog and there were 107 breaches of regulations, the court heard. HIQA inspectors said they believed those in charge were not fit to run the home.

It is owned by Margaret Flanagan and has been open since 1975. After the first three inspections, a detailed order plan was provided, but the chief inspector said the order had not been complied with.

Heating was not working properly in the home and an elderly man with no clothing on the top half of his body was seen sitting on a commode in temperatures of just 16 degrees.

A report published last year found the only stimulation for the residents was television or newspapers. The home was not in good repair and there were problems with equipment and furniture.

Rusted commodes were found and cotsides were also in disrepair and not properly secured.

There was torn upholstery, worn and faulty chairs and a sling used with a hoist for residents was very worn and potentially dangerous.

Another inspection report in December warned that urgent action was needed to bring care planning and procedures up to standard.

There was poor staff training and five staff files had no CVs, references or evidence of garda vetting.

It found evidence of good practice also, including areas of nursing care and all residents enjoyed their food. Nobody was found to have bed sores.

The safety body has only sought a closure order once previously. This led to the Glenbervie nursing home in Bray, Co Wicklow, shutting down last year.

Irish Independent

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