Court closes nursing home in Laytown


A COURT has ordered the closure of a Co Meath nursing home where inspectors had found patients at risk of hypothermia and a scarcity of food.

The Health Information and Quality Authority had sought the closure last month due to concerns about health and safety and a lack of governance, clinical management and staff training.

Peter Murphy, the operator of the private Creevelea Nursing Home in Laytown, yesterday withdrew his appeal against the authority’s application to cancel the home’s registration, Drogheda District Court heard.

Hiqa inspector Nuala Rafferty had told a previous sitting of the court that the premises was found to be so cold that residents were “verging at risk of hypothermia”.

The court was also told that inspectors found the home was not clean, there was no meat and the only fresh vegetables consisted of one bag of potatoes and a turnip, when it was inspected last year.

Inspectors also said that it had been broken into three times and residents experienced 19 falls over a six-week period.

The Health Service Executive had staff in the home since carrying out an assessment earlier this year.

Counsel for the inspection authority told Judge Flann Brennan yesterday that following discussions over the weekend, the owner was consenting to the cancellation of registration as of 1pm.

Mr Murphy was withdrawing his appeal “without any admission of liability”, his barrister said

The HSE said it would secure appropriate alternative accommodation for the seven remaining nursing home residents “with immediate effect”.

It was “regrettable” that the appeal of the decision to close the home could not be pursued further “at this time”, Mr Murphy said in a statement.

Mr Murphy said he was seeking an independent review of the events which lead to the home’s de-registration. He defended the level of care which he said was of a “high standard” and “verifiable through an assessment of evidence-based practice”.

The centre had appropriate staffing, activities for patients, training and “an enhanced physical environment”, he said.

“Risks are quantified and choice facilitated to ensure in so far as possible the health and safety of the resident and a high quality of life,” he added.

An investigation into the care of all patients at the home over the past decade was yesterday called for by Fine Gael Meath TD and Minister of State for the Environment Fergus O’Dowd.

Mr O’Dowd visited the home 10 years ago after receiving a complaint. “On visiting Creevelea I found a constituent fully clothed in bed, on one of the coldest days of that year, with no heating on in the bedroom,” he said.

Mr O’Dowd had complained to the health board and received an “immediate response”.

Following yesterday’s judgment, Mr O’Dowd called for “a full investigation into all patient care received since that time”.

Alone, a charity for older people, welcomed the closure and hoped it would force other facilities to “take note” and “review their level of service provision”.

It may be “distressing and confusing” for residents and families but the “protection of older people” and provision of high-quality services” was “of paramount importance”, chief executive Seán Moynihan said.

This is the fourth closure which has resulted from inspections by the health standards body since it began checks on all public and private nursing homes in mid-2009.

Rostrevor House in Rathgar, Dublin, and homes in Wicklow and Offaly have also been closed.