Nursing home residents not afforded ‘basic rights’, Hiqa finds

Inspection on Co Clare home ‘triggered’ following the receipt of three separate concerns from relatives


Elderly residents at a nursing home in Co Clare were not afforded “basic rights” such as sitting at their own beside without interruption, inspectors from the State’s health watchdog found.

The inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said the rights and dignity of residents in multiple occupancy rooms with more than four residents at St Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis was “not respected”.

An unannounced inspection last January found there were “multiple rooms” that had more than four residents while other rooms within the centre had vacant beds and less than four people.

Hiqa said the inspection was “triggered” following the receipt of three separate concerns from relatives about the negative impact experienced by residents when more than four people were admitted into the multiple occupancy bedrooms.

The inspection report, published on Monday, said the nursing home has a “prolonged history” of poor regulatory compliance with key regulations associated with residents’ quality of life.

“Residents could not freely access their wardrobes at all times. Residents could not have personal belongings at their bedside, such as photos or personal objects, or be assured that they would not be moved to make space whenever care was delivered,” it said.

“Residents could not receive visitors with assurance that their time would not be shortened or disrupted due to other residents’ requirement for care needs to be met.”

Residents also spoke about their inability to get a good night’s sleep due to the close proximity of their bed space to neighbours who frequently got up during the night.

Inspectors found there was a good ratio of nurses and care support staff on duty but also noted the “ongoing reliance” of agency staff.

As a result, inspectors said they were concerned about the sustainability of “person centred care” ensuring that residents’ care needs, likes and dislikes were known to staff.

They also said staffing vacancies was impacting on the service delivered, which was evidenced by residents’ morning medications not always being administered in line with the prescribed time.

Inspectors found there was insufficient cleaning staff on duty to ensure appropriate hygiene standards throughout the building and there was also evidence of a backlog of documentation for filing.

Separately, residents at a nursing home in Co Cork also commented on the proximity of beds to each other during an unannounced inspection last January.

A relative of a resident at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork city said they had requested a single room due to noise being created by another resident.

“Another relative stated that the bedroom was a bit crowded and it would be better if there was only four beds in the bedroom as opposed to the current number of six,” the inspection report said.

“They stated that it would be good if there was room for their own chair or some more of their property and possessions.”

In relation to fire safety, inspectors said they were not satisfied that sufficient measures were in place to ensure the safety of residents if a fire was to occur in certain parts of the building.

The report said if a fire started near a bed at the back of a bedroom of certain wards, “staff would be required to move between four and five beds in a specific sequence before being able to move the resident in the bed closest to the fire”.

“Staff spoken with confirmed that escape from these rooms, although feasible, was difficult,” it said.