Patients in Waterford hospital at ‘serious risk’ - Hiqa
Hospital drawing up plan to address risks indentified during unannounced visit
Waterford Regional Hospital. Photograph: PJ Browne
Immediate risks to the health and welfare of patients were identified by Hiqa during an unannounced visit to the 549-bed hospital on June 25th.
The risks, which relate to the transmission of infections, must be seriously addressed within six weeks, the authority said.
“During the course of the assessment the [inspectors] identified immediate serious risks to the health and welfare of patients,” Hiqa said in a report published yesterday.
The hospital “must now develop a quality improvement plan (QIP) that prioritises the improvements necessary to fully comply with the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections . . . This QIP must be published by the hospital on its website within six weeks.”
Among the risks identified were serious breaches of hand hygiene standards, a toilet area “heavily stained with a mould-like substance”, a commode not being washed after use, an unlocked medication fridge, used surgical instruments and a used tracheotomy tube stored on top of a tray; a designated hand-wash sink containing pieces of equipment and a patient with a suspected communicable disease in an open bay.
The Hiqa inspectors found the environment at the hospital to be “generally unclean”.
The hospital’s emergency department, a surgical ward and a medical ward were assessed for compliance with environment and facilities management standards and with hand hygiene standards.
The authority observed 23 hand hygiene opportunities throughout the monitoring assessment, 11 before and 12 after touching patients. Five of the 23 opportunities were taken and were observed to comply with best practice.
The inspectors found a “heavy sticky residue” on the exterior of a patient’s wardrobe, chipped lockers, chipped paintwork, dust and radiators being used for several patients’ personal towels.
In the medical ward they found that “the floor directly around the toilet and the base of a toilet cistern for patient use was heavily stained with a mould-like substance”. In the same ward “a disposable kidney dish containing used surgical instruments and a used tracheotomy tube were stored on top of one of two large trays containing disinfectant”.
Also in this ward, “Hiqa observed that the surfaces of two commodes assessed were stained [and] a member of staff was observed . . . failing to clean a used commode after use.” Another commode had “soiling on the seat” and the lids of two others were “unclean”.
In the drugs/utility rooms “a medication fridge . . . containing, for example, insulin and antibiotic solutions and a cupboard containing medicated sprays, were unlocked and accessible ”.
Portiuncula Hospital, Co Galway
Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway has again been found to be putting patients’ health and welfare at risk, following a highly critical Hiqa report of its hygiene standards in January.
Improvements have been achieved, the inspectors said, but waste management, the physical environment and the cleanliness of patient equipment “were not effectively managed and maintained”. The hospital was inspected on July 9th.
Wards, corridors and a storeroom were “heavily cluttered”. The doors to the storeroom for waste and used equipment were unlocked and the doors of two isolation rooms were open. Hand-hygiene opportunities were not taken while members of staff wearing theatre scrubs entered patient areas and returned to theatre without changing.