HIQA inspections find poor hygiene in four hospitals
Mater Misericordiae in Dublin and Nenagh Hospital judged to be ‘generally unclean’
The Mater Hospital, Dublin where HIQA inspectors found ‘much evidence of practice that was not compliant’ with national standards. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
HIQA reports into hygiene standards in five hospitals published this morning have found evidence of inadequate hand hygiene leading to risk of infection to patients while wards in two hospitals were deemed “generally unclean”.
Unannounced inspections of the Mater, Nenagh, St Vincent’s, Tallaght and Ennis hospitals were carried out by Hiqa inspectors between August and September and focused on environmental cleanliness and hand hygiene.
Four of the five hospitals, with Ennis being the only exception, were found to breach hand hygiene standards to the point where the practice posed a risk to patients of healthcare associated infections.
In the Mater Misericordiae hospital in Dublin HIQA inspectors found “much evidence of practice that was not compliant” with national standards.
It found that the two wards inspected - St Teresa’s, which is a medical ward and St Joseph’s - were “generally unclean” although patient equipment was “mostly clean”.
Inspectors in the Mater reported:
- unlabelled syringes containing unknown solutions found in two kidney dishes on a worktop in the utility room in St Teresa’s Ward while unclean intravenous stands were also found in the ward
- inappropriate storage of hazardous chemicals in a “dirty” utility room which contained multiple wire catheter holders, some of which were rusted.
- that hand hygiene practices were not embedded at all levels, especially among staff practices observed on St Joseph’s ward
- eight patient washbowls and bed urinals stored incorrectly in the St Joseph’s ward where some bedpans were also observed to be stained
In a statement released this afternoon the Mater said improving hygiene compliance was a “top priority” for the hospital. It said it was disappointed with some findings as outlined in HIQA’s report: “We would like to take this opportunity to reassure patients that our hospital is clean and that we will continue to work hard to achieve best practice in National Hygiene Standards.”
In Nenagh Hospital inspectors found that the environment and equipment in two wards, Medical 1, a male ward and Medical 2 ward, a female ward were “generally unclean” with a subsequent risk of to patients of hospital-based infections.
Inspectors in Nenagh also reported:
- an unlocked storage unit in Medical 2 contained needles, syringes and oral medications
- that a culture of hand hygiene practice was not embedded among all staff; some sinks designated for hand washing were unclean with a black “mould-like substance” on one sink
- damaged coverings in Medical 1 hindered effective cleaning while the ward had wall surfaces with large areas of paint missing and a sink located beside an exposed, crumbling wall surface beside a patient’s bed
- the surface of a patient temperature monitoring device was unclean and there was a piece of soiled dressing tape on the surface of the device
- a sticky residue the surface of an intravenous pump in the nurses’ station; and grit and rust around the area over the wheels of dressing trolleys