Co Kilkenny nursing home located in ‘unsuitable’ premises – Hiqa

Inspection into St Columba’s Hospital in Thomastown found ‘fire safety risks persist’

The inspection report said that due to the size and layout of the building ‘risks associated with fire containment and evacuation remained’. Photograph: The Irish Times

The inspection report said that due to the size and layout of the building ‘risks associated with fire containment and evacuation remained’. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A HSE-run nursing home in Co Kilkenny is located in an “unsuitable” premises that is affecting the quality of life for residents, an inspection report has found.

Health service watchdog, the Health and Information Quality Authority (Hiqa), said there were up to nine people living in large open-plan bay wards in St Columba’s Hospital on the outskirts of Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, that would leave it in breach of new care regulations next year.

The regulator said the nursing home is located in a building that was originally constructed in the late 19th century and while it has been upgraded and adapted over time, it remains an unsuitable premises for its intend purposes as a home for older people.

The inspection is one of a number of recent reports from Hiqa that has been critical of HSE-run facilities in buildings that are more than 100 years old and have not been modernised adequately to meet regulations coming into force on single-bed room occupancy in care homes.

Hiqa found that while the Co Kilkenny care facility had put in place measures to manage fire safety risks highlighted in an early inspection in January, an unannounced follow-up inspection by Hiqa officials accompanied by a specialist fire inspector in July found “some risks remained”.

The care facility provides accommodation for up to 68 residents in four care areas and had 15 dedicated dementia care beds. There were 50 residents in the home on the date of the inspection.

Although the HSE had reduced occupancy within the care home, from 38 to 19 residents on one floor, Hiqa inspectors said “fire safety risks persist” and “raised concerns”.

The inspection report said that due to the size and layout of the building “risks associated with fire containment and evacuation remained”.

These risks included oxygen cylinders being stored in open bedroom areas with some in areas where they were at risk of being hit when moving beds or equipment.

During the July inspection, residents complained about the absence of activities in the home. One told inspectors: “Nothing going on,” while another said: “I don’t do anything here.”

“Some residents said their sleep was occasionally disturbed by noise from other residents and staff, ‘but you get used to it,’” said the report.

“One resident stated he wasn’t living in the centre but he was ‘dying here.’”

The inspection report was one of 35 published into residential centres for older people by Hiqa. The watchdog found non-compliance in 29 care facilities overall.

On an unannounced inspection of Flannery’s Nursing Home in Tuam, Co Galway, Hiqa found “significant non-compliance” in the areas of governance, management and infection control. An urgent action plan to address these shortcomings was issued the day after the inspection.

“The provider voluntarily stopped admissions to the centre for a period of six weeks to facilitate an improvement plan,” the inspection report states.

The inspection found that there was insufficient staff available to meet the needs of the 41 residents living in the home at the time or for the size and layout of the building.

During the week of the inspection, Hiqa found that there were just two nurses on duty during the day on four days and one nurse on three days.