Nursing home staff ‘repeatedly’ highlighted staff shortages

Home in Laois lost 28 staff in a few months - report from health quality watchdog Hiqa

Hiqa had concerns centred on allegations of inadequate staffing and a poor quality of care provided to residents at Droimnin Nursing Home, Stradbally, Co Laois.

Staff in a nursing home in Co Laois “repeatedly” highlighted the impact of healthcare staff shortages on their ability to meet the needs of residents after 28 members of staff resigned in just a few months.

An inspection report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) carried out an unannounced inspection at the Droimnin Nursing Home, Stradbally, in December 2017 on foot of unsolicited information it received.

Hiqa said the concerns centred on allegations of inadequate staffing and a poor quality of care provided to residents.

“Evidence found during this inspection did substantiate these concerns,” the inspection report said.


On three occasions the inspectors noted large groups of residents sitting in communal areas were unsupervised for extended periods of time.

“The vast majority of staff that the inspectors spoke with over the course of the two-day inspection repeatedly highlighted the issue of healthcare staff shortages,” the report said.

“The overwhelming majority stated that the recent turnover of staff was significantly impacting on staff members’ ability to effectively meet residents’ needs.”

The inspectors were also told about, and observed, long periods of delay in responding to residents who requested assistance with care-related issues.

It emerged that 28 members of staff (in 20 full time positions) had resigned since the previous August and that staffing levels were inadequate to meet the care and welfare needs of residents.

As a result, the nursing home provider agreed to a temporary hold on all new admissions until such time that the management was reassured the staffing compliment was stabilised and the care delivered was safe, appropriate to residents’ needs, consistent and effectively monitored.


In a follow-up inspection in January this year, Hiqa found the service was adequately resourced and the management team demonstrated good knowledge and an ability to meet regulatory requirements.

Inspectors found care was delivered to “a high standard by staff who knew the residents well and discharged their duties in a respectful and dignified way”.

Inspectors also found major non-compliance issues at the Elm Hall nursing home in Celbridge in an October 2017 inspection.

Hiqa said a lack of corporate governance was found at the centre, but an inspection the following month found “significant improvements had been made to bring the nursing home into compliance”.

In an unannounced inspection of Skibbereen Community Nursing home in Co Cork last September, Hiqa found the privacy and dignity of residents “was greatly compromised by the continued major non-compliance and unsuitability of the premises, as identified in previous reports”.

Residents lacked privacy due to sharing six-bedded and four-bedded wards.

“Interlinked bedrooms and access to sluice and store rooms through bedrooms impacted on residents’ privacy as staff, relatives and residents passed through bedrooms regularly even when residents were in bed, entertaining their visitors while in their bedrooms or eating a meal by the bed,” the report said.

The nursing home said refurbishment of residents’ bedrooms and toilet facilities will commence in this year.

“In the meantime protecting residents dignity will remain to the fore in our care delivery,” it said.

The health quality watchdog published 15 inspection reports on residential centres for older people on Friday. Evidence of good practice and compliance with the relevant healthcare regulations and standards was found in six centres. Nine inspections found evidence of non-compliance in seven centres.