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Nursing home staff stored oxygen cylinder beside smoking area

14 July 2017 14:20
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Health watchdog publishes negative findings against nursing homes in Bray and Ennis

Staff at a nursing home in Bray stored an oxygen cylinder in an open press beside a residents’ smoking area, according to an inspection report released today.

This was one of a series of breaches in patient safety and welfare discovered by officials from the Health and Information Quality Authority (Hiqa) during an unannounced visit to the 63-bed Earlsbrook House in January.

Included in the inspection report are details of a resident being denied a shower due to a lack of available staff, and elderly residents having to wait seven minutes to use the toilet.

The positioning of a cylinder of highly flammable gas beside a smoking area was just one of a number of hazards noted by inspectors, who said reasonable measures had not been taken to prevent accidents in the centre.

Staff were also unfamiliar with emergency response plans and were unsure of what to do in the event of a fire breaking out at night.

Hiqa inspectors visited the centre following receipt of unsolicited information relating to complaints about management, staffing and dementia care, as well as notifications from the provider and the person in charge.

The report concluded that non-compliances across areas such as fire safety, health and safety and risk management were the result of “insufficient oversight and governance” by management at the home.

It was added that management “did not provide assurance that systems in place were ensuring that the service provided was safe, consistent and effectively monitored.”

Responding to the findings, FirstCare Ireland, which runs Earlsbrook House endeavoured to provide further training to staff so they can more effectively assist the manager of the home in the areas of supervision and service provision.

In addition, the care provider promised to hold extra training sessions and simulated fire events “to ensure all staff are fully aware of the procedures and processes in place in the event of an actual episode.”

Elsewhere, an inspection into a HSE-run nursing home which was the first to ever mount a legal challenge against Hiqa recommendations, found that residents had to keep their clothes in bags near their beds due to a lack of suitable storage space.

Those living in certain parts of the 120-bed St Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis had to eat meals by their bedside because there were no communal and dining spaces available.

Items heaped on wardrobes, windowsills and bedside lockers due to a lack of storage room included incontinence wear, wound dressing, buns and biscuits, body wipes and soiled clothing.

Hand sanitiser dispensers were affixed to wardrobe doors as this was the only space available, and bins in bedrooms consisted of small black bags hanging from bed tables.

One resident spoken to by inspectors complained that she could not bring personal items from home as there was not enough space, and another stated that she was being “driven crazy” by moans in the middle of the night from other residents located in the same ward who had dementia.

Bathroom facilities were found to be inadequate with just one toilet between 12 residents in one part of the centre, and one shower between 24 in another.

Hiqa officials criticised the “institutionalised” feel of the facility, which was found to be fully compliant in just three of 12 areas of practice inspected.

Attempts by the health watchdog to impose restrictions on the admission of new residents to St Joseph’s following the adverse inspection findings was met with resistance by the HSE, which challenged the orders in a court case last month.

The HSE says the centre is due for refurbishment including the addition of an extra 50-bed building which is to be completed by 2021.


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