Staff shortages, inadequate fire safety procedures and poor premises conditions have been highlighted in the latest inspection reports of nursing homes from the Health Information and Quality Authority.
Evidence of non-compliance was found in 32 of 49 inspections conducted, including a number of homes managed by the HSE.
The Plunkett Community Nursing Unit in Boyle, County Roscommon is a purpose built facility that can accommodate 38 residents with varying needs.
During an unannounced inspection in May, inspectors found that the center had failed to maintain a high standard of cleanliness to provide a safe environment.
They observed practices that did not meet national standards for infection prevention and control in community services.
Equipment such as shower chairs and wheelchairs were not properly cleaned and decontaminated after use.
The report notes that the equipment “was heavily soiled with organic matter.”
The laundry room did not provide for the division of clean and dirty areas as required by national guidelines.
According to the report, rooms that had been declared to be deep cleaned were not clean during the inspection.
The Plunkett Community Nursing Unit had a fire safety policy and related procedures to guide and notify staff in the event of a fire alarm being activated.
Disturbingly, the fire procedure posted throughout the center was not accurate or consistent with the information it displayed.
Instead, according to the HIQA report, a postcode for the center to give to fire emergency services was that of a local in County Galway.
A number of HSE premises inspected by HIQA were found to be non-compliant under various headings.
At Youghal Community Hospital in County Cork, inspectors found a tub inaccessible as the room was used for excess storage of vacuum cleaners, tampons, hairdressing equipment, wheelchairs and a lifter -anybody.
In Merlin Park Community Nursing Units 5 and 6, many multiple bedrooms have had a negative impact on the privacy and dignity of the residents who live there.
There were two showers available to residents occupying the 12 single rooms in one unit, but they were located on the opposite side of the main hallway.
One of the shower rooms was located “a substantial distance” from the bedrooms and residents had to walk through common areas, which affected their choice, privacy and dignity.
Inspectors also found that there was no dedicated visiting space available at the facility for residents who wished to meet visitors privately.
At St Joseph’s Community Hospital in Stranorlar, Donegal, residents did not have enough space to store their clothes because the wardrobes were small.
As a result, their clothes were stored in an adjacent building where laundry was done.
In some cases, residents’ wardrobes and lockers did not fit next to their beds, so their personal belongings were not easily accessible to them.
In East Cork, the Glendonagh Residential Home near the village of Dungourney, which was inspected in August, has been found to have persistent problems with staff shortages, inadequate fire safety procedures and inadequate infection prevention and control .
Inspectors noted that a bottle of hand gel and a spray bottle containing disinfectant sat next to a soft drink bottle in the kitchenette, posing a “high risk” for a resident with dementia inadvertently consuming a toxic substance.
The report also notes that the lifting slings were shared among the residents of the center and that there was no scheduled regimen or documentation on how often to clean this equipment which posed a risk of cross infection, in particular. in this time of higher risk of infection with Covid-19. .
The recent staff shortages that had been reported were noted on the day of the inspection according to HIQA.
The post of nurse clinician manager was vacant as well as the post of activity coordinator.
The head of governance had been away from the center, teleworking, in recent months.
A shortage of nurses on duty meant that the person in charge also had to work a 12-hour day as a nurse.
According to HIQA, this had a significant impact on her availability to run the center, especially when there was only one other nurse on duty with her.
The report also notes as “important” that a single nurse on duty is on duty to care for 42 residents at night.
Although he acknowledges the support of three health assistants, there was a dementia unit and an upstairs area to watch at night, in the centre’s “diverse layout”.
“The inspectors were not satisfied that the night manning was sufficient to provide adequate supervision and safe care,” he said.