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Saturday 17 February 2018

Watchdog criticises home for failing to prevent abuse

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE health watchdog yesterday criticised a nursing home formerly managed by religious sisters for failing to protect elderly residents from abuse.

Residents of Woodlock Nursing Home in Portlaw, Co Waterford, have had to seek other accommodation after the care facility had its registration cancelled by a court order made earlier this month.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) moved against the 30-bed home after a series of inspections at the 160-year-old building. Tim Kelleher is the registered provider of the home, which is no longer run by nuns. A spokesperson for Woodlock Residential Care Ltd said it strongly refuted many of the implications in the report.

"Whereas the home had many shortcomings and drawbacks due to being in a 150-year-old building and limited resources due to its small number of beds, many of the items in the report were presented out of context and represented isolated incidents which were non-recurring or were dealt with by management once highlighted," a statement said.

One of the inspections at the home was triggered when the staff were not paid because of "financial shortcomings".

HIQA published a damning report on the Woodlock facility yesterday stating that the provider had "consistently failed to adequately address the needs of a resident who was involved in an incident of abuse with another resident".

The report also detailed concerns over how residents' money was managed "and the provision of accurate information to the authority".

Inspectors checked the home on November 17, 2010, after they were tipped off that the heating system had been out of order for three days. They returned for another inspection on October 27 last after they were told of concerns about staffing levels and heating. On returning two days later they discovered an industrial dispute which could have impacted on the "safety and welfare" of residents. "This dispute took place due to the non payment of staff by the provider," the report stated.

The HSE was present in the home for seven days to ensure there were enough staff and sufficient food and heat for residents. Thirty problems were identified; however, the home had only resolved one of these within the agreed time.

The failings also included:

• Problems with residents' access to medication.

• Inspectors witnessed two elderly people in wheelchairs all day -- the wheelchairs were pushed under the table and "effectively acted as methods of restraint".

• Concerns with "issues which constitute potential harm/abuse to residents" after an incident in February 2011.

HIQA stated that a monitoring system was introduced after an incident of abuse involving a resident. But it said it was "not adequately implemented".

"Inspectors observed the resident in question unsupervised on two occasions during the day with access to a female resident. The lack of adequate assessment means there is no clarity as to this monitoring, the risk to residents and the duty of care to the resident in question."

The report found the provider had a "limited understanding of the dynamics of abusive situations and protection systems".

"Inspectors reviewed an incident where a resident was physically brought to the floor by two staff in a restraint manner for non-compliance. This placed the resident at risk of serious injury. There was no evidence that this action was reported to the resident's family (or) that it was adequately investigated."

Irish Independent

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