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St Joseph’s residents were not let shower for months, says report

HSE issues apology following HIQA report that highlighted anti-Covid measure

MID-West Community Healthcare has apologised for its failure to meet the required standards at St Joseph’s Hospital, Ennis after an inspection found residents were left months without showers during a Covid-19 outbreak.
A Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspection report has revealed residents who required assistance were not allowed to have a shower during this outbreak.
“Inspectors reviewed the care records and spoke with care staff. Records evidenced that there were periods of months where residents did not have a shower.
“This was discussed with the nursing management who took immediate action and on day two of the inspection all residents that chose to shower were facilitated to have one,” the report stated.
A statement issued by Mid-West Community Healthcare has confirmed an independent review will be undertaken into the findings of the report as the health authority continues to work with staff and the regulator towards full compliance with all standards.
The HSE acknowledged the HIQA inspection identified high standards of care and also some areas of non-compliance.
“Mid-West Community Healthcare Chief Officer, Maria Bridgeman, and management and staff at St Joseph’s Hospital acknowledge the non-compliances. We would like to apologise to residents and families for not meeting the required standards.
“St Joseph’s provides an essential service to Clare people. The services that are provided include short-term respite, rehab and continuing care. It is an integral part of the community with the local parish church on site and has established links with local schools through intergenerational projects.”
Deputy Joe Carey, who was shocked to learn some patients hadn’t a shower in months, supports the need for an independent review into the report’s findings. “It is hard to believe that something like the fact residents hadn’t showers would happen. It appears to be a measure taken by management to limit the spread of Covid-19, which is very hard to believe and understand. It is not acceptable and we need to find out why vulnerable people couldn’t get a shower.
“The report also praised the care at the facility. Work is continuing improving facilities for residents who are currently in the centre.”
Senator Martin Conway said he was saddened to learn about some of the deficiencies of care in St Joseph’s Hospital.
Notwithstanding the difficulties presented during a Covid-19 outbreak, Senator Conway expressed grave concern that some patients were left without showers for up to 12 weeks and stressed resources should have been deployed to ensure they had showers on a regular basis.
The Ennistymon senator said any review into the non-compliances should establish why did this happen and has a protocol been put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
He believes the review should be completed in a matter of weeks to reassure the families of loved ones who have been affected and called on the HSE to publicly state who is carrying out this review.
The report found the centre was not compliant for regulations including applications for registered providers for the variation or removal of condition for registration; training and staff development; governance and management, premises and residents’ rights. The centre complied with standards for staffing, notification of incidents, individual assessment and care plan and healthcare.
It was substantially compliant for regulations governing statement of purpose, complaints’ procedure and infection control.
There were 65 patients in the facility when HIQA inspectors visited on March 10 and March 11.
While residents were feeling the implications of the Covid-19 outbreak on their daily lives they were quick to state that they felt management were taking all measures to protect them.
Residents also had high praise for the staff who care for them on a daily basis and were content in the company of staff.
On December 27, 2020 the Office of the chief inspector was notified of a Covid -19 outbreak in the centre. In total, 32 residents had been confirmed positive, of these 26 had recovered and sadly six residents had passed away.
On the days of inspection all residents were remaining in their units and the centre outbreak was declared over on March 12, 2021.
Throughout the outbreak staffing levels were maintained with use of agency staff, these staff worked in this centre only and as a result were familiar with resident needs. There is an ongoing recruitment campaign to fill current vacancies.
From conversations with staff and from a review of the records there was an over reliance on existing staff to support and mentor all new staff. Improved induction and supervisions arrangements were required for new staff appointments.

by Dan Danaher

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