HIQA says practices at nursing home ‘unacceptable’

A FOLLOW-UP investigation at a nursing home revealed some unacceptable practices — despite earlier warnings of residents being at risk from elder abuse.

In its first report on Kilrush District Hospital in west Clare earlier this year, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) stated that it was “very concerned for the safety and welfare” of residents restrained in 17 Buxton restraining chairs.

But, in a subsequent visit, HIQA insisted certain measures had not been put in place.

But the community-run hospital said it has responded to all of HIQA’s complaints.

Initially, a director on the board of the hospital, John Hehir, said the issue of the Buxton chairs was being addressed, with new specialist equipment either in place or ordered. He had claimed some aspects of the HIQA report had been “disappointing but we are proud of our record and will continue to provide excellent care”.

However, a new inspection report states “unacceptable practices have been found at the home”.

The hospital has capacity for 53 patients and the new report raises concerns in relation to the use of restraints; the risk of cross infection of MRSA and the dignity and privacy of patients being significantly compromised.

The report states: “The provider had addressed some restraint issues since the last report. However, restraint was still being used with residents without considering alternative interventions or using of appropriate assessments.

“Residents with MRSA were not supported in a consistent way which increased the risk of cross infection.”

However, in response yesterday, Mr Hehir said: “All of the items in the second HIQA report have been addressed. There are no outstanding issues.”

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