Concern over restraint of patients at Cork mental health unit

Concern over restraint of patients at Cork mental health unit

CONCERNS have been raised by the Mental Health Commission over restraint practices at a Cork mental health unit.

It reported Eist Linn Child and Adolescent Unit in Blackrock restrained some residents without giving them a reason, did not tell them how long they would be restrained or how to end the restrainment. A recent inspection also found one case where the consultant psychiatrist on duty was not notified of the physical restraint of a resident.

In two cases, the registered medical practitioner did not complete a medical exam of the resident within three hours of the physical restraint taking place, and there was no evidence the episodes of physical restraint were reviewed by members of the multidisciplinary team within two working days.

While the commission rated the Eist Linn as excellent in nine areas, it found the centre had three high-risk ratings of non-compliances for use of CCTV, staffing and use of physical restraint. 

Since the 2018 inspection, there had been no improvement in the numbers of staff trained in the area of the management of aggression and violence, according to the MHC.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne: “Worryingly in one unit, since the last inspection, there had been no improvement in the number of staff trained in managing aggression and violence. The inspections and recommendations are there for a reason and they simply cannot be ignored.”

A spokesperson for Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare said staff at Eist Linn “work very hard to provide a high level of care and to meet regulatory standards, and it is, of course, a matter of concern when those standards aren’t met. 

“The issues identified by the Commission are being addressed locally, and we have agreed Corrective and Preventative Plans (CAPAs) with the Commission. Initiatives to address every point raised in the report have been agreed with the Mental Health Commission.

“While the commission found a number of areas of non-compliance, it is worth noting that the Commission also highlighted nine areas of excellence. As pointed out by the Commission, the number of staff employed at Eist Linn is sufficient to meet residents’ needs.

“The commission highlighted the lack of an occupational therapist, and an occupational therapist is now in place at the unit.”

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