Regulation urged over decision to resuscitate

Fri, Jan 25, 2013, 00:00

Legislation is needed to regulate the circumstances in which nursing homes can decide not to resuscitate a critically ill resident, according to the Irish Patients’ Association (IPA).

It was responding to the findings of an inspection report which found that a Co Leitrim nursing home placed “do not resuscitate” notices in some residents’ files without adequate prior consultation. Mullross nursing home in Kilclare was taken over by the HSE this month and has been closed.

The report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said there was no evidence that the home had discussed the do not resuscitate notices with residents, their families or staff.

The IPA last night called on Minister for Health James Reilly to refer the report to the nursing and medical regulators. “One of the toughest decisions for a family to make is to agree to a ‘do not resuscitate’. The very least you would expect is an accurate record of the decision,” said chairman Stephen McMahon. The Government also needed to regulate to ensure that “this most final decision” in healthcare was made transparently, he said.

Severely critical

The Hiqa report was severely critical of systems at the privately run home for increasing the risk of medical errors. It said no one was in charge from September 2011 until May 2012. The person who then took up the job resigned during an unannounced inspection in December.

Inspectors found there were significant care and welfare issues regarding the provision of care which posed a serious risk to residents. These included nutritional monitoring, recording of medical consultations, medication reviews and wound management.