A “complete prohibition” on admitting seriously physically unwell residents to a private eating disorders treatment centre has been imposed by the Mental Health Commission.
It was one of three conditions imposed on the Lois Bridges Centre in Sutton, Dublin, following an inspection.
There were serious concerns about staffing and risk management procedures, particularly in relation to seriously physically ill residents with anorexia nervosa.
Assistant inspector of mental health services, Dr Enda Dooley, said elements of the care and treatment of seriously physically ill residents with anorexia nervosa were “inadequate and unsafe”.
He said there had been little improvement in the provision of safe care since an annual inspection in March 2017.
The inspector was accompanied by a specialist in eating disorders during a “focused inspection” over two days last December.
There was only one consultant psychiatrist, who was also the clinical director and worked in another healthcare facility. There was no other medical input apart from the local GP.
Furthermore, there had been only one healthcare assistant and one nurse on duty, day and night.
The commission’s report stated that 16 hours of consultant psychiatrist input on-site per week was not enough to meet the needs of up to seven in-patients.
Apart from one registered psychiatric nurse and the dietician, the medical, nursing, and healthcare assistants did not have any formal training in eating disorders.
During the inspection, a seriously ill resident with anorexia nervosa was transferred to Beaumont Hospital. The inspection team was not made aware of the transfer, despite asking for information about residents who had been seriously ill.
The centre’s director of services, Lilly Molloy, said all the conditions had been fully complied with since January last and the facility did not admit an individual with a body mass index of less than 13.5.
“Lois Bridges continues to work closely with the Mental Health Commission, ensuring that we provide the best possible care to our clients at all times,” she said.
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