Nursing home shut after residents found in cold rooms

Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 01:00

A CO Tipperary nursing home has been closed after inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found residents living in cold rooms and cared for by inadequate numbers of staff.

The authority yesterday published a series of inspection reports into St Anne’s nursing home in Cashel, which closed last May after the authority cancelled its registration.

Inspectors who visited the home last December found radiators in the communal room cold and residents seated under blankets. The temperature was 15 degrees, six degrees below the recommended minimum. Temperatures in a bedroom were almost two degrees below the minimum.

Inspectors found the layout of the building, a three-storey house built more than 100 years ago, and the absence of a lift greatly restricted residents’ movements, while the centre did not comply with planning rules relating to the use of two-bedded rooms on the second floor.

Toilet facilities were limited and not always accessible, and there was inadequate privacy in the downstairs bathroom/toilet.

The person in charge did not have adequate experience in geriatric care, and there was no evidence she had been vetted by the Garda.

The number of staff on duty on the day of inspection was inadequate.

The inspectors were not satisfied that adequate arrangements were in place for the prevention, detection and management of fire.

There was little evidence that residents had access to physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and the care plans drawn up did not ensure they were provided with suitable and sufficient care.

In the fridge, inspectors found an unsealed tube of nasal cream used in the treatment of MRSA stored with eye drops and eye ointments currently in use.

In the sluice room, a toilet brush was left in the wash-hand basin. Inspectors said this constituted a high risk of cross-infection from the brush to a person washing their hands in the basin.

In the cleaning room, the brushes used for bathrooms and for clinical waste were stored together, constituting a risk of cross-contamination.

The inspection was an unannounced follow-up to previous inspections during which inspectors had identified shortcomings.

An earlier report found evidence of failures to comply with the law in care planning, health promotion, notifications to the authority, medication management, staffing, premises, and equipment and infection control.

The latest audit found evidence of improvements. Staffing levels had increased and improvements had been made to the building.

“However, the overall design and layout of the premises is not suitable for its stated purpose and does not meet the individual and collective needs of the residents in a manner that is comfortable and maximises their wellbeing, privacy and dignity, ability to exercise independence and freedom of choice,”it said.