Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland care home failures saw patients denied medication for fortnight

The inspection, from August 8 to 13, identified
The inspection, from August 8 to 13, identified "serious concerns" regarding medicine management (stock photo)

By Annamay McNally

A Co Tyrone care home has apologised for shocking failings in the way medicines were administered to residents - with some found to be without their medication for up to two weeks.

Inspectors from the RQIA, which monitors the care and standards of nursing homes and social care settings across Northern Ireland, carried out an unannounced inspection at Knockmoyle Lodge Nursing Home near Omagh.

The inspection, from August 8 to 13, identified "serious concerns" regarding medicine management. Some of the affected patients did not receive medication as prescribed for conditions including dementia, asthma and urinary retention.

"Five patients had been without some of their prescribed medicines, as they were not in stock, for several days and others up to two weeks," an RQIA report stated.

"This had not been reported to the home manager and there was no evidence of the registered nurses taking appropriate action to obtain supplies of medicines.

"None of these incidents had been appropriately reported to the trust or the RQIA."

Citing concerns with the accuracy of recordings relating to the times when medicines were administered, the RQIA warned that if the medication was not administered as and when required, the patients were at risk of toxicity or pain.

As well as witnessing the medicines trolley being unlocked on the morning the inspection began, the RQIA reported that additional concerns included nursing staff not being appropriately trained in areas such as infection prevention and control, use of restraint, medicine administration and wound care.

Three failure to comply notices were issued to Knockmoyle Lodge Nursing Home on August 20 - including one which referred to a previous inspection in December last year, which identified a series of areas for improvement including the return of a quality improvement plan and monthly monitoring visits.

In a statement to the Ulster Herald, a spokesperson for Knockmoyle Lodge Nursing Home said: "We are devastated at the recent outcome of the RQIA inspection.

"We want to apologise to our patients and families and reassure them that we are extremely focused on working closely with the RQIA and the Western Trust to ensure areas of concern identified are improved immediately.

"We currently have a new management structure in place and we have developed an improvement plan that is monitored on a daily basis to ensure continuous progress. We are confident our improvement plan will deliver the change required to meet the high standard of care we have always strived for."

The Western Health and Social Care Trust said: "The Western Trust is aware of a recent RQIA Inspection at Knockmoyle Private Nursing Home, Omagh, and is monitoring this very closely to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents.

"The trust will continue to remain in regular contact with the management of Knockmoyle to support their ability to achieve the standards of care expected."

Aidan Hanna of patient advocacy group NI Patient Voice urged the RQIA to "strongly consider investigating the failings" identified at the home.

An inspection of the facility in August 2017 found that previous concerns about management arrangements, during an inspection in July of that year, had not been appropriately addressed.

Mr Hanna added: "The RQIA have powers to carry out investigations. They should strongly consider investigating the failings in the last years at Knockmoyle. This needs addressed without delay. The vulnerable adults at the home don't deserve one day of poor care never mind issues dragging on for years."

Mr Hanna also called on the Western Trust to interview any of its staff who manage the care of the residents in the home.

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