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Report on Portlaoise nursing unit released

The HIQA report was positive about St Brigid’s Hospital – but the HSE said last month that it is to be closed on a phased basis.

Updated 12.30pm

THE HEALTH INFORMATION and Quality Authority (HIQA) has released its latest report on St Brigid’s Hospital, the nursing home that the HSE has ordered to be closed.

In mid-November, the HSE announced that the centre, which is located in Shaen, around 7km from Portlaoise, Co Laois, is to be closed on a phased basis.

It said that the residents and respite clients would be relocated to other facilities.

The HSE said the closure was to due to financial reasons, the public sector staff moratorium and compliance with future HIQA standards.

The building was opened in 1932 as a tuberculosis sanatorium, before being closed and then reopened in 1970 as a residential service for older people.

There were 31 residents at the time of inspection, some of whom have dementia.

The report said that “while areas for improvement were identified, overall the inspector found that the provider and person in charge met the requirements of the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2009 (as amended) and the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland”.

HIQA found that the health needs of residents were met and the inspector was satisfied that the quality of care and experience of the residents were monitored and developed on an ongoing basis.

It said that the quality of residents’ lives was enhanced by the provision of a choice of interesting things for them to do during the day and an ethos of respect and dignity for both residents and staff was evident.

Questionnaires received from relatives and those spoken with were unanimous in their praise for the service provided and the kindness and caring nature of the staff.
Improvements had occurred to the premises but further improvements were required. Improvements were also required around  personnel files and deputising arrangements.

The inspector found evidence of good complaints management practice; that sufficient measures were in place to protect residents from being harmed or suffering abuse and that all staff had received training on identifying and responding to elder abuse.

The inspector was satisfied that health and safety of residents, visitors and staff was promoted and protected and that the environment was kept clean and was well maintained.

The inspector found evidence of good medication management practices and was satisfied that residents’ wellbeing and welfare was maintained.

HIQA was also satifisfied the residents received a nutritious and varied diet.

When it came to changes that needed to be made, the inspector said that residents’ privacy and dignity were respected by staff but the aspect of the premises made this difficult.

Although the premises was well-maintained, the report noted that the six bedded area on the ground floor, arranged in an open cubicle style, did not meet the residents’ needs for privacy and dignity.

Wash hand basins not available in a large number of bedrooms and there was no bath available.

However, the report also noted that these had already been identified and the provider, Gerry Raleigh, stated that a comprehensive planning process was commenced to address the layout of the centre.

In announcing the closure last month, the HSE said it “acknowledges the excellent commitment and high level of care always shown by staff at St Brigid’s Hospital, Shaen to both the residents and their fellow staff members”.

The HSE commented:

The report reflects the HSE’s endeavours to meet HIQA standards with a focus on ensuring that the health and safety of residents are promoted and protected. However the report does identify significant deficits in the building.
The decision was taken to close this unit so as to optimise the use of the available resource in Laois/Offaly. By so doing the available resource will be consolidated in the remaining four units ensuring the ongoing provision of high quality, safe services in those units.

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