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Some nursing home residents 'left without shower for month' - inspectors

Published 21/07/2015

St Patrick's Hospital was found by watchdogs to only offer proper washing facilities once every two weeks
St Patrick's Hospital was found by watchdogs to only offer proper washing facilities once every two weeks

Some elderly people in a nursing home have been left for a month or more without a shower, inspectors have revealed.

St Patrick's Hospital in Summerhill, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, was found by watchdogs to only offer proper washing facilities once every two weeks.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), which examined the home in March, said that if residents did not take up the offer of a bath or a shower at the time or there were too few staff on a particular day, some could go for a month or more without adequate personal hygiene.

At the time of the inspection the unit was housing 82 men and women over the age of 65 who need convalescence, respite, rehabilitation and care for palliative reasons or dementia.

Hiqa said its inspectors found the Health Service Executive-run facility had not taken appropriate steps to address failings already identified to ensure the care and welfare of residents were protected.

Personal hygiene failings were identified in a previous visit but not dealt with meaning residents continue to live in a nursing home with inadequate toilets and showers and a lack of opportunity and choice for regular showers or baths, Hiqa said.

Many staff had not received up-to-date training to prevent fire, protect vulnerable adults, manage challenging behaviour and infection control, the report said.

The Hiqa inspection also found fire evacuation and personal evacuation plans were not in place and f ire safety equipment had not been installed.

It also highlighted a significant number of falls in the home, including that some residents had fallen repeatedly and were not adequately protected from further injury.

Records showed there were 110 falls in the home last year and 63 in the last six months, with one person falling seven times in four months and another falling six times in six months.

One of them fractured a hip and the other suffered a fractured vertebrae after falling out of bed.

A lack of suitable chairs had resulted in some men and women being bed-bound, Hiqa said.

Dormitory-style rooms were also being used for four to six people to sleep in at a time which inspectors said was affecting the privacy and dignity of residents.

Inadequate staff numbers were also raised with the operators while relatives of some of the people living in the home said they were generally happy with the care but concerned about the lack of nurses and carers.

"The inspectors found there was insufficient staffing to meet the needs of the residents and current staff were not deployed in a manner that met the needs of residents," the report said.

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