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Management of Covid-19 outbreak ‘chaotic and disorganised’ at Clare community hospital

The centre was found to be non-compliant under 12 different regulations.

Image: Shutterstock/David Pereiras

A LONG-TERM care centre for older people in Co. Clare was found to have poor infection control measures when it was inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) during a Covid-19 outbreak.

Inspectors found the management of the outbreak at Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice was “chaotic and disorganised”. 

Staff members were observed without masks in the company of residents and inspectors also witnessed a number of incidents of poor hand hygiene and inappropriate use of personal protective equipment during an unannounced visit.

A report on the facility on the outskirts of Ennis said the practices posed an infection control risk to the residents. The report is one of 34 published by HIQA today.

The centre was found to be non-compliant under 12 different regulations.

Screenshot 2021-04-09 at 15.18.26 Cahercalla was found to be non-compliant under 12 regulations. Source: HIQA

The document notes that lines of accountability and responsibility in the centre were not clear and staff were not sure who was in charge.

“Some staff referred to the director of nursing, some to the assistant director of nursing, others to the ward managers or the financial controller. Other staff told the inspectors that there was no clear management structure in the centre,” the report notes.

The inspection revealed that residents with complex health care needs associated with their diagnosis of Covid-19, were spending extended periods of time alone in their bedroom with no evidence of clinical monitoring or nursing supervision. 

The report notes that one resident remained in an isolation unit on their own for five days after their requirement to be isolated had passed.

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The resident told inspectors that they were waiting to return to their usual room but staff were too busy to organise this, however, inspectors were aware that, on the same day, there was an extra member of staff on that unit. 

Other residents reported waiting extended periods of time for their call bells to be answered.

The report concludes by noting that, notwithstanding the restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 outbreak, what residents told the inspectors and what the inspectors observed were “symptomatic of a lack of insight into what constitutes a good service and a lack of supervision to ensure that staff deliver a good service”.

It added that a greater focus on person-centred care is required at the facility.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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