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Staff in St Joseph’s hit back over ‘inaccurate’ care claims

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STAFF in St Joseph’s Hospital have hit back at recent “inaccurate” claims that residents were left unwashed for months.
The Clare Champion has learned that staff members in St Joseph’s are furious over recent public statements made by Deputy Violet Anne-Wynne and Deputy Cathal Crowe in the Dáil in view of their assertion patients were left unwashed for months.
The newspaper can reveal that staff are also upset with the HSE for giving a public apology concerning care in St Joseph’s as they believe this was not justified.
A union official has confirmed staff couldn’t shower patients during a Covid-19 outbreak but instead used a basin with soap and water, which was used to clean a patient from head to waist before this was emptied and a new basin was obtained to clean the patient’s bottom half.
This was completed in line with agreed HSE procedures, which was not referenced in the recent HIQA report.
The newspaper has been assured at no time has patient care been compromised in St Joseph’s Hospital.
A recent Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspection report stated 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,” the report stated.
“This was discussed with the nursing management who took immediate action and on day two of the inspection all residents that choseto have a shower were facilitated to have one.”
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, INMO and SIPTU members pointed to high standards of care in St Joseph’s Hospital.
Members from both unions welcomed a recently published HIQA report into St Joseph’s Hospital, which found high standards of care provided to residents by staff.
“Union members in St Joseph’s branded political and media commentary alleging that patients care needs were unmet as inaccurate.
“During a Covid-19 outbreak in the hospital, there were some restrictions on movement in accordance with infection prevention and control, but INMO and SIPTU members report that all care needs were met ‘to a very high standard’.”
Following the HIQA report, Mid-West Community Healthcare has apologised for their failure to meet the required standards at St Joseph’s Hospital.
A statement issued at the time by Mid-West Community Healthcare confirmed an independent review would 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.”
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, Deputy Wynne stated a HIQA report released earlier this month revealed that there was non-compliance with multiple standard management and care practices in the hospital during an inspection on March 10 and 11 of this year.
“I feel I must act to engage with the Department of Health and seek a commitment to the prompt and effective resolution of these issues, which relate to both the quality of care and human rights of the residents.
“The HIQA report has shown that residents who needed assistance to move were in fact left months without the required assistance needed to access and take a shower.
“This is particularly concerning in light of the fact that it was unreported and exposed through inspection.
“These are extremely vulnerable people, and if there is an issue around complications vindicating their human rights to the minimum care standards set in such a health care institution – then there needs to be transparency about that, rather than a retrospective statement detailing remorse.
“I’ve written to the Minister to ask for concrete action to be taken to prevent a similar human rights issue in the future.”
Speaking in the Dáil recently, Deputy Crowe stated the HIQA inspection found some patients had gone a period of months without showering.
“We have had Joe Duffy telling us to wash our hands every day on the radio. The latter has been drilled into us and yet the necessity of washing themselves was denied to patients at St Joseph’s in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 within the facility.
“Ultimately, there were 32 positive Covid cases and six deaths at St. Joseph’s.
“I ask that the Government investigate the circumstances around this as a matter of urgency and engage with senior HSE management to ensure that it never happens again in any public hospital.”
An Taoisech Micheál Martin thanked Deputy Crowe for raising this issue.
“It would be unacceptable if persons were not afforded the opportunity to wash. I will certainly talk to the HSE about the matter and get its perspective on what transpired.”
The Department of Health or Mid-West Community Healthcare had not responded to Clare Champion queries at the time of going to press.
A spokesman for Mid-West Community Healthcare stated it is not in a position to comment at this time in view of the independent review that is being conducted into care in St Joseph’s.
It is understood a report following this review will be published in about three months’ time.

by Dan Danaher

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