Fresh concerns over Northern Ireland nursing home slammed by inspectors two years ago
A nursing home where residents once shared underwear has come under fire again for staffing levels and care practices.
Northern Ireland's health watchdog carried out an unannounced inspection of Kingsway Private Nursing Home in Dunmurry in July after it received a number of anonymous complaints.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) received a letter and telephone call in which concerns were raised about staffing and management arrangements and care practices.
During a subsequent inspection on July 4 staff, residents and relatives of people living in the home - which provides care for elderly and terminally ill people - expressed concerns about delays in answering call bells and high staff sickness levels.
An RQIA report following on from the inspection noted: "Two staff consulted with were of the opinion that an additional care assistant in the nursing unit during the morning shift would allow for additional time to be spent with individual patients.
"The staff provided examples where they were of the opinion that patients' needs were not being met in a timely manner.
"Three patients consulted and one respondent within a relative questionnaire also expressed concerns in relation to staffing levels. Two patients, one from each unit, described waiting for prolonged periods of time for care needs to be attended to."
It continued: "The majority of staff consulted spoke of good teamwork within the home.
"However, two staff commented that there was a high staff sickness rate in the home, which affected the teamwork.
"An additional two staff commented that more organisation and direction from senior staff could be provided to direct teamwork."
According to the inspection report, comments from staff about working in the home included:
- "It's all right. Morale can be low."
- "Low staff morale can be overwhelming for new staff."
- "Work can be stressful at weekends."
One patient commented that "there is a big issue with staff at weekends", while another complained: "I have to wait a long time to get hoisted into chair after mealtimes."
Another said they "sometimes have to wait long time before the call buzzer is answered".
However, the RQIA inspector said patients' needs were met in a timely manner during his visit.
He did raise concerns about the records relating to the use of a catheter on a resident, while shortfalls were also identified about records of the condition of residents' skin.
The inspector also discovered that residents were able to access three rooms where there were harmful chemicals, and expressed concerns about a failure to comply with best practice in infection prevention and control in some parts of the home.
Despite this, the RQIA report said: "The concerns raised in the letter and by the anonymous caller were not substantiated during the inspection and it was evident that patients' needs were being met in a safe, compassionate and effective manner."
Kingsway Private Nursing Home hit the headlines in December 2015 when the RQIA revealed a series of startling failures in care at the facility.
These included residents left to sit in soiled underwear after waiting to be taken to the toilet, residents sitting for eight hours without being moved, communal use of underwear and tights, and a patient being injured by a badly fitted piece of equipment.
Aidan Hanna, chief executive of Northern Ireland Patient Voice, said he was disappointed about the comments made by staff during the latest inspection.
"The RQIA has been raising concerns at this nursing home for many years and it is completely unacceptable that concerns are still being raised," he said.
"It is also confusing that the RQIA have stated that the whistleblowers' concerns were not substantiated but the report clearly details other staff and patients raising the same concerns raised by the whistleblowers."
A RQIA spokesman said the organisation's inspector was unable to substantiate the anonymous allegations.
He added: "Following the inspection, RQIA identified a number of areas for improvement, which will be followed up through RQIA's ongoing unannounced inspection programme.
"The safety and wellbeing of every patient at Kingsway Nursing Home is of paramount importance to RQIA, and we continue to monitor this home through our regulatory activities."