Northern Ireland care home provider criticised for putting residents at risk
A care home provider has been criticised for putting some of the most vulnerable people in society at risk of harm less than a year after it was fined £75,000 over the death of a resident.
Corriewood Private Clinic Ltd has been ordered to raise standards at two of its facilities - Corriewood Private Clinic and Croob Cottage, both in Castlewellan, Co Down.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) inspected Corriewood Private Clinic in May and raised serious concerns over the way it was being managed. The regulator said this had "placed patients at risk of harm".
The RQIA inspector also discovered a failure to appropriately manage medication, which "significantly compromised patient health and welfare".
It emerged during the two-day inspection that seven residents had missed more than one dose of at least one prescribed medicine in April and May of this year.
The RQIA inspector also discovered that two patients had shared a painkilling patch as one of them did not have any left when the one they were using was due to be changed.
The inspectors' report continued: "The date of receipt of the new supply of patches had been amended in the controlled drugs record book so that it appeared that the patch had not been out of stock.
"We observed that the lunchtime medicines were being pre-dispensed for several patients by the registered nurse. This practice is unsafe as it increases the likelihood that medicines may be administered to the wrong patient."
The RQIA also discovered that three staff working as nurses were not registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a number of care staff were also not appropriately registered. Concerns were also raised over the failure to properly care for wounds and infections at the home.
The inspectors discovered that proper care plans had not been put in place in relation to a number of residents, and that "care records were not reviewed to reflect individualised patient-centred need".
Residents who had fallen were not being monitored properly, while an inspection in December 2018 revealed that a resident who had sustained a head injury after a fall was not properly monitored.
The managers responsible for the running of Corriewood Private Clinic during the two-day inspection were Anne Monica Byrne and Marie McGrady.
Ms McGrady was the acting manager of the home last year and was in court in July 2018 as Judge Piers Grant handed out a £75,000 fine for the death of 57-year-old Mervyn Patterson.
Mr Patterson, who had severe autism and learning difficulties, was a resident at Seeconnell Village Residential Home in March 2014 when he passed away. Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, had heard that on the evening of Mr Patterson's death, a 19-year-old support worker prepared a supper of oranges, other fruit and some yoghurt.
But she had never read Mr Patterson's care plan and was not aware of his dietary requirements.
Ms McGrady had told a previous hearing that since Mr Patterson's death, assessments and reviews had been implemented to ensure the tragedy that occurred in March 2014 never happens again.
Meanwhile, an RQIA inspection of Croob Cottage, situated within Seeconnell Private Village, on June 6 uncovered concerns about the recruitment of staff, which had "the potential to place service users at risk of harm".
Aidan Hanna from NI Patient Voice said: "It is very alarming that RQIA has issued enforcement action at a nursing home and supported living service owned by the same company.
"The RQIA has been raising concerns about the nursing home for over a year now and this enforcement action should be seen as the last chance for the nursing home. This is a large care home with 72 registered places - the people who live at this home deserve much better."
A spokesperson for Corriewood Private Clinic said: "The care of our patients is our overriding concern and we fully engaging with the RQIA to improve in the areas which they have identified.
"We are working with the South Eastern Trust, Southern Trust and Belfast Trust to completely review and update our medication system, governance and care planning.
"We will also continue to meet with the residents and their families to demonstrate how we have responded in a sustainable way to the RQIA audit and to reassure them of our commitment and dedication," the spokesperson added.