HSE denies knowledge of care home issues before patient transfer


A PATIENT at the Co Galway nursing home that was ordered to cease operations last month over safety concerns was transferred there from a public nursing home with a good inspection record, the HSE has confirmed.

A spokeswoman for HSE West said it was unaware of any issues with the privately owned Owen Riff nursing home in Oughterard when the patient was sent there last March.

The patient came from St Francis Community nursing home in Newcastle, which was closed in May. Campaigners in Galway had opposed the decision to shut the last public nursing home in the county.

Earlier this week, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) published inspection reports that revealed evidence of poor management of medication and inadequate staffing levels at Owen Riff. They found some residents were “unkempt and unshaven” and many had not had a bath or shower for a month.

In addition, there were concerns over meals being served late. Some residents were observed receiving their breakfast when it was almost dinner time.

The registered owner – Riverside Nursing Home Ltd – was ordered to stop operating the facility last month, and later withdrew an appeal against a closure order. The HSE is now running the facility.

Responding to questions from The Irish Times, the HSE confirmed that it transferred a former patient of St Francis’s home to Owen Riff in mid-March. “At the time of transfer the HSE had no awareness of any issues relating to the registration of the nursing home as it was listed as a registered private nursing home by Hiqa,” the spokeswoman said.

However, a Hiqa inspection in August 2011 raised a number of concerns. Registration was granted at the time subject to conditions.