Last year saw more than 4,000 injuries that required medical treatment suffered by older people living in residential care homes, according to a report by the State’s health watchdog.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) yesterday published its 2014 annual overview report on the regulation of designated centres for older people.
It revealed that 4,028 injuries to residents that required medical and or hospital treatment were recorded in 508 centres across the country last year.
Of that figure, a total of 929 required hospital treatment, of which 779 were rated as minor or moderate risk, according to the report.
While Hiqa said there was evidence of ‘over-reporting’ of injuries by centres, Age Action said the report shows that improvements are needed in risk management and safer care for residents in nursing homes.
“We welcome the robust and independent monitoring that Hiqa provides, but we are seriously concerned that there were more than 4,000 notifications of injury in 2014 — more than 10 a day — and 357 allegations of abuse,” said Justin Moran, head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action.
Hiqa carried out 758 inspections of 549 nursing homes in 2014, 58% of which were unannounced visits and 42% announced, and 93% of all registered centres received an inspection during 2014.
Standards in providing safe and suitable premises for residents recorded the highest level of major non-compliance with regulations. Of the 472 centres assessed under this category, 74 (16%) were found to be majorly non-compliant with standards.
The report stated that inspectors found residents being accommodated in “large and outdated open-plan Nightingale-style wards”. The authors noted that such arrangements afford residents “little privacy and dignity.”
There was a 71% increase in the level of concerns brought to Hiqa about nursing homes in 2014. Hiqa received 609 items of unsolicited information relating to 303 centres, of which just over half (55%) came from concerned relatives of residents.
Officials examining nutritional standards at 195 centres found 11 homes where residents were at nutritional risk because they did not have an adequate nutritional care plan in place. Residents in all except one centre had access to fresh drinking water, while in nine centres, not all residents were offered a choice outside of the main meal.
Hiqa also reported that it issued formal enforcement procedures against one centre, which was issued with a notice of cancellation of registration by the Authority in September 2014. The provider consented to the decision of the Authority.
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