Tuesday 17 September 2019

€9m plan for St Joseph's gets a major boost

New 50-bed complex for the area must be up and running by December 2021

Hubert Murphy

A planning application for a 50-bed facility at St Joseph's Hospital in Ardee is to be submitted to Louth County Council before the end of the month.

The €9m investment in the new facility is urgently needed as a recent unannounced visit to the hospital by HIQA again found the hospital non compliant when it came to private space for residents - but overwhelming successful when it comes to meeting their needs.

Inspectors have given the HSE until December 2021 to have the new building completed and it was revealed as part of the visit that 'plans for a new centre submitted to the Office of the Chief Inspector as per Condition 8 of the registration is being progressed. The completion date of the new build remains unchanged with the target date of August 2021. Condition 8 expires in December 2021.'

That means the planning process must now proceed at pace to meet HIQA deadlines.

It is almost three years since the approval of funding was made for the project, but it has stalled along the way.

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd announced that the new planning application was ready to go to council, something welcomed by the Cathaoirleach of the Ardee council area, Dolores Minogue.

'I am delighted to see that St Joseph's is now moving on to the next stage of this most needed infrastructure. This will add to what already is a fantastic place for clients because of the work ethic of all staff. This new build will make living there more like a home, but most importantly our elderly will have comfort and families with have reassurance that their loves ones will have the best facilities and care available.'

St Joseph's Hospital is a four storey building, built in 1780 with extensions added the latest in 2010. It was built as a family home, converted to a hospital for the local area and is now a registered nursing home. The centre provides care to a maximum of 20 residents, male and female, over 18 years of age. All residents accepted for admission require long term care. Residents of all dependency levels are assessed and accepted for admission.

The residents accommodation is located on the ground floor. 9 in the main building to the front of the premises and 11 in the unit to the rear of the building. The bedrooms are made up of 4 bedded, 3 bedded and single bedrooms. Residents have access to an enclosed garden and grounds surrounding the hospital.

The recent visit by inspectors gave the hospital a 5-star rating, compliant in 20 cases, and only the age and design of the building an issue.

'Residents said their care needs were met and there were always enough staff on duty. They described the staff as kind and said ''they would do anything for you''. Activities provided met their needs, they had a choice to take part or not and those spoken with said their choice was respected. There was a dog living with residents in the centre and they clearly adored the dog, describing her as quiet, clean and a lovely wee thing. They attended Mass in the church on the grounds each Saturday which they enjoyed.

'They told the inspector the food served was good, served hot and they always got a choice at meal times. One relative spoken with said communication between staff and the residents' family was really good, open and transparent.

'The governance structure in this centre was strong and stable. The centre was well managed. There was a structured system of communication between members of the management team. The person in charge was well supported by the provider representative and two clinical nurse managers. Operational governance and quality assurance meetings occurred monthly, minutes of these were available for review. All the actions identified on the last inspection report had been addressed.'

They said the building 'is not purpose built' and although warm and having undergone improvemets, does not fit the bill as a modern facility.

'The premises was not suitable to meet the needs of residents requiring long term care. 14 residents were accommodated in four multiple occupancy bedrooms. Two, four bedded and two, three bedded bedrooms. The right to privacy was negatively impacted on for each resident sharing these bedrooms, due to limited amount of privacy they could have when living in the same room as two or three other adults. There was a limited amount of private wall space around each bed to enable residents to personal their bed space with private items.'

Drogheda Independent