Water at Galway nursing home ‘still unfit to drink or shower in’ – Hiqa

Inspectors ‘not assured’ the water at Merlin Park community nursing unit was safe

Hiqa inspectors  found ‘inadequate signage posted at wash hand basins and no signage at others, which posed a risk to residents and visitors’.

Hiqa inspectors found ‘inadequate signage posted at wash hand basins and no signage at others, which posed a risk to residents and visitors’.

 

Six months after a Legionella scare at a Galway nursing home, the water supply was still unfit to drink or shower in, inspectors from the State’s health watchdog found.

The inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) were “not assured” the water at Merlin Park community nursing unit was safe for use in showers or fit for drinking, according to their report.

“There was lack of clarity regarding the suitability of the supply despite the risk to residents who were using water that might not be safe to use or drink.”

The water supply system had been disinfected and flushed following high readings for Legionella bacteria in July 2018. Filters were placed in shower-heads to reduce the risk of contamination but these had affected water pressure.

However, on the first day of the inspection in December 2018, inspectors sought written assurances that the water supply was safe to use but this was not provided.

Staff told inspectors they were “clear” the water supply from taps was unfit for drinking and washing teeth. “However, there continued to be inadequate signage posted at wash hand basins and no signage at others, which posed a risk to residents and visitors.”

Bottled water was available and was offered to visitors.

The report is critical of the continued admission of residents, some at high risk of infection, “regardless of the risks to residents’ safety”.

It also criticises a failure to ensure and uphold their rights to privacy and dignity, and inadequate oversight of fire safety management, maintenance of the building and complaints management.

It says it was unclear who was in charge when the person in this role was absent or on leave. While there was a nurse in charge in each unit, there was no designated person with oversight and responsibility for the centre in her absence.