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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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HSE confirms long-term Dublin care home to close

INMO is angered by the move which is says came “without discussion” with staff – but HSE points to HIQA inspection reports which found the “old” building provided an “unfavourable physical environment”.

Image: John Birdsall/John Birdsall/Press Association Images

A NURSING HOME in Co Dublin is to be closed “without discussion with unions and staff”.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), St Brigid’s Home in Crooksling, Brittas is to be closed over the next three months with the loss of 90 beds. Sixty beds have already been closed in the home over the past months. The INMO said it only learned of the closure from its own HSE sources late last night.

The HSE confirmed to TheJournal.ie today that St Brigid’s Home “will close over a phased period over the next three to six months”.

It said the home was being closed because the facilities at St Brigid’s had not met the requirements of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The INMO claims that the closure of the home will have a “major impact” on Tallaght Hospital, as patients who need long-care have traditionally been transferred to St Brigid’s when they are discharged but still in need of full-time care.

Derek Reilly, INMO Industrial Relations Officer, said this morning:

As there has been no discussion or information forthcoming on the closure, I am now seeking an urgent meeting with the HSE so that both patients and staff at St Brigid’s can learn what the plans are for the Home. St Brigid’s should be maintained and resources provided to ensure it has a viable future.

The HSE said today that there are currently 80 residents in the long-term care facility and the HSE has now initiated “an engagement and consultation process with residents, their families and staff”.

The majority of the residents and staff are to be moved to a new 50-bed unit at Hollybrook Community Nursing Unit in Inchicore. “In addition other units in the Dublin Mid Leinster HSE region will be identified for the transfer of both residents and staff,” said a spokesperson. “It is important to point out that no service user will be placed in a more costly financial position because of the move.”

Staff would be consulted over transfers “within the confines of the Public Service Agreement” (Croke Park Agreement), said the HSE.

It added:

The selection of an alternative placement will be governed by the wishes and needs of each resident and it is the intention that each family will be given the opportunity and time to discuss the options that will be available. The transfer will consider the options that will be available for each resident, preferences of the resident and their family, the proximity of the identified nursing unit to the relatives and the wishes and needs of residents. In addition, a liaison person will be appointed for the transition to support the family’s /carers of the residents.

A HIQA inspection of St Brigid’s Home on 1 and 2 December 2009 – the only report on the home on the HIQA website – found that at the time the unit had 116 female residents, “the majority of whom have dementia”. Seventy seven of these were classified as maximum-dependency residents and 30 were in the high-dependency category. The home was originally founded in 1935 as a tuberculosis hospital but switched to providing short-term emergency housing for older people in 1959.

The inspectors’ report found that on the days of the visits, the centre provided “good quality care”. However, the buildings in which the unit was housed were described as “old” and that they “posed significant challenges that needed to be addressed, including:

  • Toilets located too far from residents’ bedrooms so that they had to have commodes permanently by their beds
  • Staff members had not received specialist dementia care training
  • There were steep ramps and draughts in living areas of the unit
  • There were not enough specialist chairs for physically-challenged residents so that some residents were only taken out of bed on “alternate days” because they shared their chair with another resident
  • Most of the rooms were “ward-like” with as many as nine beds per ward

The inspectors said they received complaints from both residents and their relatives in relation to the “unfavourable physical environment”, although most expressed satisfaction with the level of care the staff provided. One relative commented:

The building is dreadful but the staff are just great.

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