Inspectors at the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found that overall, those running St Brigid’s community hospital in Shaen, Portlaoise, Co Laois met their legal requirements and had established “strong management processes to ensure the delivery of services to residents in a consistent and safe manner”.
Based on an inspection of the hospital carried out at the end of October, HIQA said the Health Service Executive (HSE), which provides the service, promoted the safety of residents; that staff were trained and knowledgeable about the prevention of elder abuse; that fire safety was up to standard and the health needs of residents were met.
The inspectors also found that the quality of residents’ lives “was enhanced by the provision of a choice of interesting things for them to do during the day” and that an ethos of respect and dignity for both residents and staff was evident. Questionnaires received from relatives “were unanimous in their praise for the service”. However physical improvements were required to the premises, which has operated as a residential service for the elderly since 1970.
The pending closure of St Brigid’s has already raised an outcry and recently thousands marched in Abbeyleix in protest at the pending closure of a number of community nursing homes in the midlands, including the Shaen facility which is home to 32 residents.
The HSE has partially blamed the pending closure on the challenges of complying with future HIQA standards, but HIQA found little wrong with the home in its most recent inspection with the exception of deficits in the physical premises.
Meanwhile a private nursing home in Newmarket, Co Cork, took the decision to close on October 28 last following a series of inspections by HIQA, the latest of which was triggered following a complaint.
Inspectors found patients were placed directly on pressure-relieving mattresses with no sheets (management said this was as per the supplier’s instructions); some residents’ hygiene needs were not being fully met; there was no risk assessment in place for residents who smoked and the incident and accident book could not be located.