'Appalling' lack of care at mental hospital
Mental health inspectors have expressed extreme concern for the welfare of residents at a facility who have been deprived of essential therapies and are showing signs of severe institutionalised behaviour.
Inspectors from the Mental Health Commission found there was an “appalling” lack of therapy for residents with intellectual disabilities at St Senan’s Hospital in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
Overall, they found the hospital could not in its present condition provide a suitable environment for the care and treatment of people with mental illness or an intellectual disability. The hospital, opened in 1870, is home to 43 residents. About 13 have intellectual disabilities. It is due to close by March 2013.
Inspectors reserved their harshest criticism over the care and treatment of residents with intellectual disabilities.
It said they were a very vulnerable group, most of whom were not able to communicate their needs and they were accommodated in very poor conditions.
“It was evident from observing the residents that maladaptive behaviours, self-stimulation, institutionalisation and withdrawal were prevalent, all issues that could be addressed by providing appropriate therapies and an appropriate environment,” inspectors found.
However, inspectors said they were impressed with the community mental health teams and the provision of a recovery-orientated service in the South Wexford sector. It is planned that residents at St Senan’s will be transferred to community-based care next year.
There was also criticism of conditions at the Waterford Regional Hospital’s department of psychiatry.
Inspectors described conditions at the busy acute unit – which provides inpatient care for Waterford and parts of Wexford and Kilkenny – as unsuitable and counter-therapeutic.
They welcomed the fact that building work was under way to provide an expanded unit with enhanced facilities.
But there was concern at the under-resourcing of mental health teams, which was affecting the provision of care.
“There was no provision of therapeutic activities in the acute area within the unit. No activities were available to residents other than watching television from their beds,” according to the report.