Nursing home residents had ‘long periods with little or no interaction’

Hiqa finds Bandon hospital outsources activities while Midleton facility relies on temporary staff

Residents of a Cork nursing home which outsources its activities programme had “long periods with little or no interaction” when nothing was available to do, an inspection of the premises found.

Bandon Community Hospital, which cares for 25 people, was found not to be in compliance with nine regulations when inspectors visited last December.

Their report said the diningroom and quiet visitors’ room were “almost devoid of décor and had a clinical appearance” while the hairdresser’s “was a room with a toilet, and a sink with an attachment for washing someone’s hair”.

“While there was an activities programme in place, responsibility for this was outsourced, consequently, when these activity staff were unavailable, there was no alternative proposed,” it found.


“Residents had long periods with little or no interaction to enhance their quality of life.”

Several risks relating to fire safety were also found, although the inspectors noted residents were very complimentary of the care they received from staff.

Midleton Community Hospital, a 53-bed facility predominantly for the care of older people, was criticised when inspectors found many residents were eating meals by their beds, unable to avail of the social engagement of shared dining.

“Storage space provided in the bedrooms was not sufficient,” the report noted. “In addition, photographs and personal items of interest were often seen cluttering up the top of lockers and vying for space with residents’ drinks and skin creams.”

A lack of storage space led to a small sittingroom being used to store 11 wheelchairs.

“Midleton Community Hospital has a history of significant regulatory non-compliance dating back over a number of years,” the report said.

Although management of the centre had been strengthened, a “key concern” to inspectors was that the entire senior nurse management structure was based on temporary appointments.

Nonetheless, residents said they were happy, noted a range of activities and the close proximity to the town.

Cobh Community Hospital was found to be non-compliant with 10 regulations. Among the concerns was that there was two separate fire detection and alarm systems in different parts of the centre.

“The alarm panels and alarm bells were not interconnected with each other which means that if the alarm was activated in one part of the centre, the alarm was not raised in the other part,” the report noted. “Staff relied on phones to alert staff in the other part of the centre if a fire occurred.”

Inspectors were not assured that adequate means of escape was available from all areas of the building, it said.

The facility is run by a voluntary board of management as well as staff and “large cohort” of community volunteers, all caring for 44 older adults. Residents said they were happy and described a “lovely convivial atmosphere” at dinner and tea time.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times