Residents of nursing home 'not bathed for a month'
on 20/08/2012 18:00:09
The health watchdog revealed pensioners were unkempt and unshaven during a spot-check at Owen Riff Nursing Home in Galway in April, while many wore dirty clothes.
The courts ordered the owners of the private home in Oughterard to cease operating within days of inspectors expressing "grave concern" for the safety and welfare of up to 22 residents.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said it found evidence of poor management of medication, inadequate staffing levels, and raised concerns over nutrition, dietary provisions and meals being served late.
Some residents ate breakfast when it was almost lunch time, and one man in the dining room called for assistance, but there was no staff member to respond, they found.
"This resident was unkempt, unshaven and his eyes were crusted and sore," inspectors said.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has since taken over the running of the former family-run facility. It is understood another private firm is seeking registration to take over the premises.
The previous registered owner - Riverside Nursing Home Ltd - withdrew an appeal against the closure order last month.
In its final report inspectors said some residents were in bed very late in the morning, that the atmosphere was subdued and staff appeared hurried with no time for conversation with residents.
"Throughout the inspection residents were noted to be unkempt and their hair not brushed or combed," it continued.
"Some residents' clothes were not ironed while many residents' clothes were dirty.
"Residents' finger nails were not cared for and required cleaning and trimming. Male residents were unshaven.
"There was a 'bowel/shower' book in use, this indicated that the majority of residents did not have a bath or shower in the previous month and instead 'sponge' was recorded."
Elsewhere, grave concerns were raised over staffing levels and skill-mix of workers, adding that management had difficulty recruiting staff so relied on agency staff who were unfamiliar with residents and fire procedures.
"One staff member, observed standing over a resident while assisting him to eat, was asked by an inspector to sit with the resident, the staff member stated she did not have time," the report continued.
Inspectors - who visited the home three previous times - said they were also seriously concerned that residents at risk of malnutrition were not managed appropriately.
A new chef had received just one day's induction and was not aware of residents' specific dietary needs, it found.
Hiqa revealed there was no auditing of information on accidents and incidents, adding that residents who had a fall were still not routinely referred to the GP for review.
There was no comprehensive nursing assessment carried out for any resident, while risk assessments and care plans were either not carried out or were out of date.
One resident's bedroom was so cold he did not want to get up, while some of the hot water to wash-hand basins was scalding to the touch. Cleaning chemicals were also stored in the laundry, on trolleys in corridors and in toilets which posed a risk to residents.
The risk of cross infection from cleaning buckets being emptied in sinks where clothes were steeped was raised, and open black bags and bins were being used by staff for the disposal of soiled continence wear.
"Inspectors could clearly see and smell the continence wear soiled with faeces," the report stated.
"As these bags were left unattended and accessible on corridors they posed an infection control risk."