Nursing home non-compliant in all areas inspected by Hiqa

A nursing home, where more than half of residents who died there last year passed without a relative or next of kin present, has been found to be non-compliant in all eight categories reviewed by health watchdog Hiqa.

The inspection had been conducted in March at Sonas Nursing Home, Ballymahon Rd, Athlone. It was found to be “moderately non-complaint”.

Hiqa also conducted inspections at St Joseph’s Community Hospital, Millstreet, Co Cork, and Blainroe Lodge, Blainroe, Co Wicklow.

According to Hiqa’s inspection report on Sonas Nursing Home, it was triggered by receipt of unsolicited information which “outlined concerns in relation to the management of care, communications, and end-of-life arrangements”.

There were issues regarding end-of-life arrangements, clinical recording practices, and decision-making, while an annual review of the quality and safety of care delivered to residents had not been completed for the past two years.

There were no active incidents, allegations, or suspicions of abuse under investigation and many residents said they were satisfied with the care they were receiving.

According to the report, 47% (8 of 17) of relatives or next of kin were present with residents who had died last year.

“The family and friends of each resident approaching end of life had not been consistently informed of the resident’s condition, with the resident’s consent,” states the report.

The inspection of St Joseph’s Community Hospital in Millstreet found three areas of major non-compliance with regulations.

The 26-bed facility had previously been inspected in March 2015, after which the chief inspector refused a registration renewal application.

Inspectors found residents received care to a good standard and some issues had been addressed, but significant improvements were still required in other areas, in particular regarding the lack of privacy and dignity afforded to residents, linked to poor design and layout.

The report found some beds were very close together with inadequate screening, and staff had to manoeuvre one bed out of the way in twin rooms to assist a resident to get into the other bed.

A sitting room could only be accessed via a male dormitory while there were also shortcomings in staff training, emergency planning, and medication management.

The inspection report also found inadequate sanitary facilities and communal space, and not enough storage space. The poor design and layout also hampered personal activities. The losing of residents clothes continued to be an issue although the report notes that “this was much less frequent and was often due to the fact that laundering process had not been completed at the time of the complaint”.

The inspection report, into Blainroe Lodge also detected areas that needed improvement, such as the allergy section of the prescription sheet not being completed for all residents, and the high numbers of bed rails reported as in use at the centre.

On the use of chemical restraint, the report said: “The inspector reviewed a sample of relevant records and found that the records did not confirm in all cases where alternatives had been trialled and used in line with best practice.”


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