Wednesday 24 January 2018

New Ross's New Houghton Hospital is bouncing back to good health

Having been threatened with closure by HIQA in 2015, the New Houghton Hospital is now a shining example

Barbara Murphy
Barbara Murphy
New Houghton Hospital

David Looby

In 2015 the New Houghton Hospital in New Ross was threatened with closure following two Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspections, but today it has bounced back and is compliant with nine out of ten HIQA requirements.

In September 2015 a 30 day closure notice was placed on the hospital, leading to shock and concern among residents, as it had major non compliances which were uncovered when HIQA inspected the facility on Hospital Road for the renewal of its three year licence.

The inspectors refused registration in autumn of that year and an immediate action plan was put in place.

On the registration inspection of March 2015 and subsequent follow up inspection in June 2015 there was still significant non compliance in relation to some fundamental and essential components of the requirements of the Health Act (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013 (as amended) including core aspects of governance which included, medication management, healthcare needs, risk management and reviewing quality and safety of care. Subsequent to the follow up inspection the provider was given written notice that the Chief Inspector proposed to cancel the registration of New Houghton as a designated centre.

In November 2015 a third inspection was conducted as a follow up on two previous inspections that year.

The HIQA inspectors found that improvements had been made at the hospital and registration was approved.

Furthermore a report on an unannounced monitoring inspection by HIQA inspectors in November 2016, which was published in late January, has spoken of the hospital in glowing terms. The inspection followed on from matters arising from a monitoring inspection carried out on November 11, 2015.

As part of the inspection, the inspector met with residents, relatives and staff members. The inspector noted significant improvement in quality of care and management systems. There was evidence of progress in many areas by Barbara Murphy and Ann Roche, who were in charge in implementing the required improvements identified in the previous inspection.

Healthcare support staff, nursing and ancillary staff were well informed and were observed to have friendly relationships with residents. Staff who spoke with the inspector conveyed a comprehensive understanding of individual residents' wishes and preferences.

Quality of life and wellbeing was promoted by supporting residents to continue to do as much as possible for themselves and by encouraging residents to remain stimulated by actively engaging in their care programmes and in social activity. The varied programme of activities and the presence of a dedicated activities coordinator was welcomed. Overall the inspector was satisfied that the person in charge, provider and management team were committed to ensuring the centre was in substantial compliance with current legislation and that residents were safe and well cared for. A total of ten outcomes were inspected. The inspector found nine outcomes were compliant and one outcome was substantially compliant with the regulations. Effective management systems were seen to be in place in the centre during the inspection. The hospital manager was described as being suitably qualified and demonstrated a satisfactory knowledge of the regulations.

The inspector observed that the action for quality improvement initiatives for 2016 had been completed. Ms Murphy was found to have provided a good standard of governance and clinical leadership to the staff team in all aspects of care delivery.

She was suitably qualified as a registered nurse and had the authority, accountability and responsibility for the provision of the service. The inspector found that she was well informed about residents and person centred in her approach. Additionally the use of restraint had decreased since the last inspection. The inspector found that the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors in the centre was promoted and protected and that falls were currently at a minimum level in the centre, and all staff had been trained. The inspector reviewed a sample of residents' care plans and certain aspects within other care plans such as wound management, residents with compromised nutritional status and care plans related to residents with dementia.

There was evidence that the care plans were updated at the required intervals or in a timely manner in response to a change in a resident's health condition. There was also evidence of consultation with residents or their representative in care plans. The inspector reviewed in detail a care plan of a resident receiving wound management. There was evidence that the wound had been assessed and dressed in accordance with good practice guidance. There was a wound management policy which guided the staff in the prevention and management of wounds. The inspector saw that records outlined the size and extent of the tissue damage, the dressings in use and progress each time the dressing was changed.

Staff were well informed on wound care practice. Expert advice was available from nursing staff in the acute services and externally that had specialist expertise in this area. On this inspection the inspector saw that there was a dedicated end of life room on each floor which were decorated to a high standard. Residents now had the option of a single room if required and these rooms also facilitated family and friends to stay overnight.

New Ross Standard

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