Psych patients with bed sores, sleeping on floor

Patients with bed sores, patients sleeping on mattresses, lack of access to therapies — all feature in the litany of failings criticised by inspectors in the latest reports from the Mental Health Commission.

Among the more serious findings are:

  • 14 patients at St Aidan’s unit in St Otteran’s Hospital in Waterford with pressure sores — in addition to two serious reportable events in relation to Grade 4 pressure sores notified to inspectors since a previous inspection in July 2016. Grade 4 sores can affect the muscles and ligaments and turn the skin black and take years to heal. Patients had telephone-access only to a tissue viability nurse and only five nurses had training in the management of pressure sores;
  • The Department of Psychiatry, St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, frequently exceeded bed capacity, which led to residents using sitting rooms as bedrooms. Residents slept on mattresses on the floor. Management had identified that overcrowding was a serious operational and health and safety risk which had been escalated to HSE national level. The centre was described as “dirty and badly maintained”;
  • In Carraig Mór, Shanakiel, Cork, 10 men were sharing a dormitory, which inspectors said was “not acceptable in a modern mental health service, even more so where residents’ needs may be challenging”. Inspectors said that, for 10 residents, there was one toilet and shower that was freely accessible;
  • There was one toilet for the six-bed female dormitory, and the female shower facility was located on a separate corridor;
  • Therapeutic services and programmes were not evidence-based or directed towards maintaining optimal levels of physical and psychosocial functioning of residents at the adult mental health unit in Mayo University Hospital.

Dr Susan Finnerty, Inspector of Mental Health Services, said that there has been some improvements, including at Woodview, Acute Mental Health Unit in Mayo, and St Michael’s Unit in the Mercy University Hospital in Cork.

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