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Persistent staffing problems identified at Donegal nursing home

A lack of dedicated cleaning staff meant some residents’ facilities were ‘heavily soiled’, HIQA found.

Image: Doctor holding elderly lady's hand via Shutterstock

AN INAPPROPRIATE MIX of staff, poor management of patients experiencing weight loss, and inadequate attention paid to the dignity of deceased residents have been highlighted as issues to be addressed in the latest HIQA report into the state-run Carndonagh nursing home in Co Donegal.

Inspectors found that no action had been taken to address the ‘significant risk’ posed by poor hygiene standards during an unannounced visit in April of this year. Their report says that the problem was caused by an inappropriate mix of staff, and states that the person in charge had persistently failed to address the issue despite it being noted  in the health watchdog’s previous report in October of last year.

The report says there were no dedicated cleaning staff, meaning staff on-duty at the time of the inspection had to multitask between care, cleaning and catering:

However, the care needs of residents were a priority resulting in prevailing poor hygiene standards and significant risks as the inspectors found residents equipment such as commodes to be heavily soiled.

Five of the 40 patients in the home had experienced unexplained weight-loss, the inspectors found, but no action to investigate why or to mitigate the loss had been identified in their care plans. Residents who were losing weight were “not monitored systematically and some had not been weighed for some time”.

Under the heading of ‘End of Life Care’ the inspectors saw that one residents’ possessions were being tidied away for collection in plastic bags and boxes which did not “reflect best practice for the maintenance of dignity” as more appropriate containers were available.

11 of the home’s residents were in the dementia care unit at the time the inspection was carried out. 34 of the 40 residents were described as having ‘maximum care needs’, and a further five were assessed as having ‘high dependency’ needs.

The April 10 visit was the seventh inspection of the centre undertaken by HIQA, and was staged to assess how failures addressed in previous action plans were being addressed.

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