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ALONE: "Grave concerns" about issues at private nursing homes

The charity, which supports older people, made the comments following the taking over of a private Galway nursing home by the HSE.

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Image: GAETAN BALLY/Keystone Switzerland/Press Association Images

A CHARITY WHICH supports older people in need has said it wants HIQA to ensure enough resources are being allocated to spot checks on private nursing homes.

ALONE made the comments in the wake of yesterday’s news that the Owen Riff nursing home in Oughterard, Galway, has been taken over by the HSE after a failure to address ‘risk issues’.

Best practice

The charity has called on owners and board members of private nursing homes across the country to ensure that the quality of service being provided at their homes is “excellent and in line with best practice”.

A report yesterday from HIQA said that nursing home inspectors expressed “grave concern” for the safety and welfare of up to 22 residents at the Owen Riff Nursing Home, leading to the HSE taking over the running of the facility.

ALONE has also called on HIQA to ensure that enough resources are being allocated to carry out spot checks on private nursing homes and to ensure that swift action is taken to address any issues of poor quality service.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented:

We are gravely concerned about the continuous issues arising in relation to the quality of service in certain private nursing homes. Excellent care provision in nursing homes should not be a privilege, but a right. We urge owners of private nursing homes to take full responsibility for the level of service provision in their facilities. This is an ongoing problem that requires swift and very decisive action to ensure older people who require the services of private nursing homes, and their families, can be guaranteed of the best services possible.

He continued:

It is unacceptable that residents in this nursing home found themselves vulnerable and victims of neglect and inadequate services.  We urge anyone who has concerns about the wellbeing of an older person in a nursing home to contact HIQA or ALONE, and we can act on their behalf.

Inspection

Moynihan said that ALONE strongly supports the work of HIQA and the inspections of private nursing homes across the country. He said the charity urges “swift action” by HIQA on private nursing homes which are not providing an adequate level of service for older persons.

He said that the Owen Riff situation “shows the importance of checks”.

It’s something we very strongly believe in – we would have a quality symbol ourselves.

ALONE is concerned about people who may not have the family members there to advocate on their behalf and flag any issues. It has advocated on the behalf of people in nursing homes, including people who don’t have family members to look after them.

Moyninhan added that he felt there can be a “fear around complaining”, with relations being afraid to speak out about queries they have about nursing homes

“It is important  that people have somewhere that if they have concerns they can express them to HIQA,” he said, and “take advice on what their rights are and what the rights of their family member [are]“.

“People are afraid to rock the boat,” said Moynihan, but said that people should report issues they come across and take advice on this.

Moynihan said that in ALONE’s opinion, the owners of private nursing homes and the people on the board of directors “don’t then come and say I wasn’t aware [of issues]“. He said they need to put “their own checks and balances in place to ensure that people are supported”.

He concluded that standards and quality should be a given, rather than something to be worked towards.

It shouldn’t be something that people think, ‘Oh well, I’d need more money to do that’ [about].

ALONE can be contacted on 01 679 1032, or via www.alone.ie.

Read: Galway nursing home taken over after failure to address ‘risk issues’>

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