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Calls for urgent meeting with Varadkar after serious failings at Mayo care home

The gardaí are investigating the sudden death of a 72-year-old man at the care home in 2012.

Áras Attracta in Swinford in Co Mayo.
Áras Attracta in Swinford in Co Mayo.
Image: Screengrab/RTÉ News

THE PSYCHIATRIC NURSES Association (PNA) has called for an “urgent”  meeting with the Health Minister, Leo Varadkar to discuss the major non compliances by a residential home in County Mayo.

Last week, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published a report on the Care standards at the Aras Attracta residential care centre for adults with intellectual disabilities in Swinford, County Mayo.

Unannounced inspection

During an unannounced inspection, inspectors found that mealtime was “unsatisfactory and did not promote dignity, choice, respect or promote independence”.

Inspectors found that the overall approach to mealtimes was not person-centred, adding:

On both days of the inspection, inspectors found that mealtimes were not a pleasant
experience nor a social occasion…

During the inspection meal time was found to be “a hurried occasion”  for some residents particularly those who required assistance.

Inspectors observed some residents being offered spoonfuls of food in quick succession by some staff members before the residents had swallowed the previous spoonful.

Meal time 

Some meals sampled by an inspector were served cold as they had been left on an unheated trolley and uncovered for between 20 and 25 minutes.

Inspectors also heard staff using inappropriate descriptions when referring to residents during the meal time and rushing residents by repeatedly asking “are you ready” between spoonfuls of food.

They were also concerned about the long fasting times between the last meal of
the day and the first meal the following day which extended up to 15 hours for some
residents.

The unannounced inspection was launched by HIQA after it said it received a number of unsolicited complaints about the home.

Sudden death 

The gardaí confirmed to TheJournal.ie, that they are investigating the sudden death of a 72-year-old man at the care home in 2012. It is understood that the man, who was was a long-term resident at the home, became ill while and was taken to accident and emergency department of a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The PNA said an urgent  meeting with Varadkar is needed to discuss what it believes are “unresolved issues” following the HIQA publication.

PNA National Secretary, Noel Giblin they expected the new minister to meet with them to hear first hand of the ongoing concerns.

“While there have been significant improvements at Aras Attracta the PNA are not satisfied that all of the issues with the unit have been resolved and there are number of outstanding concerns that have to be addressed urgently by the management,” he said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Giblin said they had no word yet back from Varadkar but said that they were “hopeful” that Varadkar would pay them this respect of meeting with them, adding that they did highlight a lot of the concerns raised in the report back in 2012.

Read: HIQA are looking for comments on referral thresholds for gastrointestinal procedures

Read: Inspections on children’s disability services finds majority provide good quality care

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