Only one nursing home shut since inspections

JUST one private nursing home has been closed down by the Health Information and Quality Authority since inspections started a year ago, the head of its social services inspectorate said yesterday.

Dr Marion Witton, HIQA’s chief inspector, said lots of people had told her homes were closing because of the standards, which was not true.

“We have actually closed one home down, just for the record,” she pointed out.

Dr Witton, who was speaking at the annual conference of the Irish Association of Directors of Nursing and Midwifery (IADNAM) in Tullamore, Co Offaly, said the authority had taken action earlier this year to close Glenbervie Nursing Home in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The authority took action to close the 27-bed home on the grounds there was a risk to life, or a serious risk to the health or welfare to residents.

And, she said, because the standards require homes to look at their care practice, the focus was on things that don’t cost a lot of money.

Dr Witton said inspectors found that in quite a lot of cases that nursing home residents did not have enough to drink during the day. Older people who did not drink enough fluids tended to get constipated and agitated.

“To me, one of the biggest things you can do for people is to make sure people have enough to drink during the day. I think it is a fundamental human right and we know that if you don’t drink enough things can go wrong very quickly.”

Bed manager at Cork University Hospital, Anne Keating, said the hospital managed to save money in the way they managed breast surgery after discovering patients could walk between departments unaided. “They did not need a porter to bring a wheelchair and they could walk between departments. That was a revolution,” said Ms Keating, who pointed out that the change had been suggested by a porter.


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