Nursing home abuse allegations ‘were not investigated fully’

Allegations of abuse at a private Limerick nursing home “were not investigated fully”, a review by the Health and Information Quality Authority (Hiqa) found.

The finding was made against Beechwood Nursing Home in Newcastle West in one of 19 inspection reports released by Hiqa.

The unannounced inspection was carried out last May after a range of problems were found in previous inspections. It found that the nursing home was in major non-compliance in seven of the 10 areas examined.

There were 61 residents living in the home on the date of the inspection.

In its latest inspection, Hiqa found all reasonable measures were not being taken to protect residents from abuse and inspectors were not satisfied that appropriate actions were being taken following an allegation of abuse to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

Inspectors found that, although claims of abuse were reported, they were documented as complaints and not logged and investigated as abuse allegations. These incidents were not notified to Hiqa as allegations of abuse or allegations of misconduct as required by the regulations.

“There was evidence that disciplinary action had been taken for a number of allegations of abuse/misconduct but there was no evidence of actions taken in other instances and there was no evidence that these allegations were all investigated appropriately.

“Inspectors also found that there were gaps in the measures in place to protect residents from suffering abuse in that not all staff had been provided with appropriate mandatory training. This was also a finding at the previous inspection,” said the report.

Hiqa also found that, despite the nursing home having a full-time physiotherapist, there was no evidence that he/she was was being involved in moving and handling assessments nor in fact did inspectors see any evidence of these being completed at all. The physiotherapist was also not involved in drawing up or the prescribing of mobility care plans for residents.

Inspectors also found that 27 bed rails were seen in use as restraint.

Hiqa also noted “a continuous high turnover of staff”. Staff retention rates were very poor with new staff were being recruited “on a very regular basis”.

In response, Beechwood Nursing Home said a full review of the governance and management systems will be carried out “with urgency” by an external company which specialises in quality and safety and governance systems.

A further Hiqa inspection of a private nursing home in Blackrock Abbey in Louth also found major non-compliance in safeguarding for residents at the centre.

Inspectors reported that the nursing home did not provide adequate assurances that residents with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia were appropriately supported and managed and as such posed a risk to themselves or other residents.

Due to the level of risk identified, inspectors issued an immediate plan requiring action to be taken to ensure all residents in the centre were appropriately safeguarded, to be completed within five working days.

The provider responded to Hiqa within the timescale specified advising a schedule of actions under way to meet all residents’ safeguarding and safety needs.


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