The HSE has acknowledged that “significant change” is needed at a Cork nursing home following the publication of a scathing audit by the health watchdog.
In total, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found 13 breaches in regulations at Kanturk Community Hospital, and raised concerns about overcrowding, fire safety, the ‘privacy and dignity’ afforded to the 29 people living in the home, and their quality of life.
Inspectors, who had raised concerns about the home in prior audits, carried out an unannounced inspection last November, and found the HSE “had failed to address the deficits in governance and management identified on the previous inspections”.
“The HSE did not take the necessary measures to ensure that the service was safe, appropriate, consistent and effectively monitored,” Hiqa said.
The inspectors said the layout of the home, its multi-occupancy bedrooms, lack of separate dining and communal living space, and limited quiet space all contributed to a premises that could not care for residents with respect and dignity.
It found some residents “did not have independent access to their personal possessions”, and that staff “did not utilise available bed screening and window curtains to protect residents' privacy when performing intimate care”.
“Due to a lack of person space and personal storage afforded residents, people were unable to personalise their surroundings with mementos and photographs in keeping with a homely environment,” the report said.
Some residents did not have access to an individual wardrobe, but “were required to avail of a small shelved locked room with residents' names on individual shelves, located outside their bedrooms and not amenable to independent access”.
“Overall, the premises was not fit for purpose for the number of residents living there,” inspectors found.
Some staff interactions with residents were “perfunctory”, and residents were exposed to institutional practices on a daily basis.
They were “unable to exercise personal choice in issues such as when they would get up, how they wished to attend to personal hygiene in the morning or whether they wanted to finish a meal,” inspectors found.
Hiqa also highlighted infection control issues. It said cleaning staff were routinely used to replace sick leave among care staff, meaning the centre could go up to two days without being cleaned.
Residents had unrestricted access to clinical waste bins which contained wound dressings, and the hand-wash sink in the clinical room was “inaccessible due to the volume of items stored there”.
The inspectors found deficiencies to some fire doors, and questioned whether the home was adequately staffed and capable to evacuate all residents in an emergency.
Responding to the report, the HSE said improvements were made on foot of previous reports, but “some of the steps taken didn’t have their full impact as quickly as we would have liked”.
“We acted as soon as it became evident that further action was needed, and a significant programme of change is now well underway at the community hospital. Kanturk Community Hospital is already moving towards a vastly improved environment and experience for residents,” the HSE said.
“This report does not reflect our values, or the standard of care we strive to provide for residents at all community hospitals."
“We are committed to working with HIQA to ensure that we address the issues raised. It is very clear that significant change is needed at Kanturk Community Hospital, and work is underway to bring that change about, with real changes already evident,” it said.
Read the full inspection reports here.