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Over 4,000 nursing home residents were seriously injured in 2013

Age Action says that number is ‘concerning’.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

THE HEALTH INFORMATION and Quality Authority (HIQA) identified over 8,600 improvements that could be made to nursing homes last year, new figures show.

Key among the HIQA findings was that over 4,246 residents were seriously injured in registered centres.

The report summarises the findings of the 697 individual inspection reports published by HIQA during 2013.

Phelim Quinn, HIQA’s Director of Regulation said that the sector is improving, but that there was a long way to go.

“Four and a half years into the regulation of nursing homes in Ireland, the Authority has noted that there have been significant improvements in the safety and quality of care provided to people living in residential care.

“However, it is clear from this report that there are areas where further improvement is required and we will focus on these areas as part of our continued regulatory activities during 2014.”

Nursing homes and those that run them are legally required to notify HIQA of adverse or potentially harmful events that have taken place within the centres.

The overview report highlights that HIQA received 5,362 of these notifications in 2013.

79 per cent related to serious incidents to residents, 373 notifications were about alleged, suspected or confirmed abuse of any resident and 293 were related to an outbreak of an infectious disease.

ALONE, the charity that supports older people in need, called the report “shocking”.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “These shocking statistics released by HIQA further illustrate the need for more audits, further training and higher standards in Irish nursing homes.

Once again we must call into question the consistency of care in Ireland’s public and private nursing homes. Standard of care in old age is a right not a privilege.

Eamon Timmins of Age Action said that is showed a need for an independent inspections body.

“The report not only highlights the great need which exists for an independent inspection authority, but also the need for nursing home management across Ireland to improve their service when it comes to issues of health and safety and risk management.”

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