Cork nursing home staff used chemical restraints

Management at a nursing home are moving to address serious concerns raised in an inspection report, including issues around patient money going missing and the use of chemical restraints.

The inspection report by health watchdog HIQA into the Conna Nursing Home near Fermoy, Co Cork, found six areas of major non-compliance with regulations and some other, less serious shortcomings in other areas.

Concerns raised by the Health Information and Quality Authority during the inspection — the eighth visit to the centre — included a failure to notify HIQA about allegations of money going missing, and the policies around notification of absconding residents.

According to the report: “Two incidents involving money going missing from resident’s bedrooms were noted in the complaints log. The centre did not notify the Authority regarding these allegations. There was a record of involvement of the Gardaí in one incident only and the incident remained unresolved according to records seen. This incident allegedly involved a significant sum of money.

“Complaints related to alleged missing money had not been notified to the authority as incidents of alleged financial abuse.”

It added that “investigation records into this event were not produced to inspectors” and that “inspectors noted that inappropriate language was used on some occasions when recording details of relatives’ complaints”.

Elsewhere, the report outlines how the system for safeguarding residents’ finances in the centre was “not robust” as all payments into and out of the residents’ finances were not documented in a log and were not signed off by two staff members, while inspectors also noted that a notebook set aside for one resident’s financial records was blank even though the resident had a large sum of money in safekeeping.

The report noted how “inspectors viewed a sample of complaints recorded which indicated that allegations, which could be construed as allegations of abuse, had been investigated as complaints” and that HIQA “had not been notified of these allegations, within the specified time-frame, as set out in legislation”.

“Furthermore, a notification of the absconsion had not been made to the Authority with the required three-day period. This resident had climbed out the window on another occasion and had been prescribed psychotropic medication as a result of the ‘behaviour that challenged’. This event had not been notified to the Authority from the point of view of the second absconsion or the use of chemical restraint, both of which are notifiable events.”

The report recognised many examples of good practice at the 40-bed facility, although it noted that the position of nurse in charge was vacant at the time of the inspection. An immediate action plan was issued and HIQA said a “satisfactory response was received”.



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