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HIQA find 'significant gaps' in complaints procedure at Co Clare hospice

Serious shortcomings in a nursing home in Clare have been found by the State's health services watchdog.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority found “significant gaps” in how complaints were managed at Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice in Ennis, Co Clare.

The inspectors were acting on unsolicited information about a complaint made by a family member which was found to be true.

While correct procedures were followed, a complaints log was not completed, reviewed and updated.

Crucially, there was no documentation available to support any of the action taken by management to resolve the issue.

The centre that had 101 residents at the time of the unannounced inspection in May did not have a nominated person to deal with complaints.

Inspectors found that a full review of the complaints management system was needed.

It also emerged that a room at the centre designated for storage was being used as an unregistered bedroom and the office of the chief inspector had not been informed.

The centre is registered to accommodate 106 residents but a twin room on a ward had been converted to a dining room, reducing the capacity to 104.

Management said it was operating at full capacity of 105 residents, after converting a room that was designated as a storeroom into a resident bedroom.

An unannounced inspection of Powermill Nursing Home and Care Centre in May found that closed-circuit television cameras were located throughout the centre, including on corridors and in communal rooms.

However, the policy governing the use of CCTV did not fully comply with guidance issued by the Data Protection Commission.

Cameras were in areas, such as sitting and dining rooms, where residents would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

There were 40 residents in the centre and inspectors were not assured that residents could be evacuated safely from the first floor of the building.

At the time of the inspection, four residents on the first floor would need help to evacuate the centre.

Also, fire containment measures needed to be reviewed to ensure their likely performance to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through the building.

Inspectors also found that a significant number of residents spent their day in their bedrooms where they also had their meals.

Eighteen residents had their meals in the dining room that needed improvements.

Inspectors noticed that three residents who had their meals served on a tray table could not comfortably eat from them and moved the plate of food onto their laps.

An unannounced inspection of Nazareth House, in Mallow, Co Cork, in July when there were 98 residents found “gaps” in mandatory training, particularly training in fire safety and safeguarding residents from abuse.