Mother and daughter have names struck off nurses register

Avondale Nursing Home in Co Kilkenny closed down several years ago on foot of court order

President of the High Court Ms Justice Mary Irvine  said the professional misconduct ‘placed at risk and caused unnecessary suffering to some of the most vulnerable members of society’. Photograph: Dave Meehan

President of the High Court Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the professional misconduct ‘placed at risk and caused unnecessary suffering to some of the most vulnerable members of society’. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A mother and daughter who ran a Kilkenny nursing home and who “showed profound dishonesty and serious disregard” for the people in their care are to be struck off the Register of Nurses.

Miriam Holmes was Director of Nursing and her daughter Hayley Holmes was the Assistant Director of Nursing at the Avondale Nursing Home in Co Kilkenny, which closed down several years ago on foot of a court order.

President of the High Court Ms Justice Mary Irvine confirmed on Monday the erasure of both their names from the register. She said the professional misconduct in their cases “placed at risk and caused unnecessary suffering to some of the most vulnerable members of society”.

These were people who because of their poor health or frailty found themselves dependent upon the care afforded to them in the nursing home, she said.

“It is incredibly important that society in general can have trust and confidence in those responsible for the care of those who cannot take care of themselves and who cannot be minded in their own homes,” Ms Justice Irvine said.

She noted in both cases “the profound dishonesty and serious disregard shown” to the people in their care who “deserved to be treated, at a minimum, in accordance with standard practice and care”.

Ms Justice Irvine also ordered that the Nursing Board of Australia be notified of the erasure. The court had heard that both women now live in Australia.

The court also heard Hayley Holmes had in 2011 been “untruthful” with the wards of court office regarding moving residents from the nursing home to allow building works be carried out when the women’s intention was to immediately emigrate to Australia.

The application for the erasure of the Holmes names was made by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland to the High Court.

The Board had received complaints in 2011 from a former staff nurse at the nursing home and from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). As a result, the registration of the two women was suspended. A garda investigation took place and in 2018 it was decided that there would be no prosecution.

A Fitness to Practise Committee then conducted an inquiry.

In her judgement, Ms Justice Irvine listed the allegations against both women including that they failed to ensure appropriate care was afforded to the residents of Avondale Nursing Home and that residents were woken between 4am and 7.30am so they could be medicated, washed and fed.

It was also alleged there was a failure to treat one patient’s pressure sores in an appropriate manner so that her condition deteriorated, and the judge said the resident presumably suffered more pain and distress than she ought to have done.

There was also a failure to have regard for a patient suffering from malnutrition and continued weight loss and a failure to investigate medication errors.

Other allegations included a failure to ensure staff had been garda vetted and between April and July 2011 a failure to take appropriate action to implement HIQA recommendations and that in July 2011 there was a failure to ensure arrangement for the discharge of residents was carried out in a planned and safe manner.

Recommending the sanction of erasure, the Fitness to Practise Committee found that the conduct of both women was “fundamentally incompatible with being a nurse “ and the Judge said it noted the extreme dishonesty and disregard shown by both.

Ms Justice Irvine said in reaching its decision the Board was clearly satisfied the conduct was at the most serious end of the spectrum “given the wide ranging persistent and repeated nature of the misconduct concerned.”