Nurse failed to give adequate care to elderly residents, probe told

A nurse who failed to provide adequate care to elderly nursing home residents and falsified patient care charts was before a disciplinary inquiry yesterday at the Nursing Board’s headquarters in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Staff nurse Michelle Marie O’Riordan admitted that, on the night of November 20, 2012, while working at Havenwood Nursing Home just outside Waterford City, she failed to provide adequate care to the 22 residents for whom she was responsible that night.

This included a failure to conduct hourly checks on the patients, and failure to properly prepare their medication.

In particular, Ms O’Riordan recorded on the night that she had checked all 22 residents at 11.30pm and at 4.30am, when in fact she did not do so.

Ms O’Riordan, who began working at Havenwood in May 2011, also admitted that her patient notes from the night in question contain some falsehoods, as she recorded that all required care was provided that night, when this was not in fact the case.

CCTV footage reviewed later by Ms O’Riordan’s manager appeared to show Ms O’Riordan resting near the nurses’ station at times when the residents required checks, or when Ms O’Riordan recorded that she had provided care.

All of the residents at Havenwood Nursing Home required hourly checks during the night shift, with two residents having particular care needs that night.

Both these residents suffered from MS, with one, whose MS had rendered her paraplegic, needing to be repositioned regularly to prevent bed sores; while another had a chest infection and was receiving nutrition from a tube.

During her shift, Ms O’Riordan, who qualified as a nurse in November 2010, recorded a note that, just before 9pm, she repositioned one of the residents when, in fact, she neglected to do this.

The nurse also noted that, shortly afterwards, she checked the temperature of another resident. However, CCTV footage showed no one entering the resident’s room at that time.

At a meeting with her director of nursing, Patricia Curran, a few days after the night in question, Ms O’Riordan admitted that the notes from the night of November 20 contained some falsehoods, and that a check of all residents had not been completed at 4.30am as recorded.

At that meeting, Ms O’Riordan — who was 23 at the time — apologised for her actions, and said she was shocked at her behaviour and that she had put residents at risk.

Ms Curran told the inquiry that, up until the night in question, she had been satisfied that Ms O’Riordan was a competent junior nurse.

She said that, thankfully, there were no adverse effects on patients as a result of Ms O’Riordan’s actions.

The inquiry will continue at a later date, when it will be determined whether Ms O’Riordan’s actions amount to poor professional performance, professional misconduct or failure to comply with the professional code of conduct.


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