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Expected closure of St Senan's Hospital "most welcome" - report

The inspection found that a lack of stimulation and therapy had led to patients engaging in “severe institutionalised and maladaptive behaviour”.

St Senan's Hospital in Co Wexford
St Senan's Hospital in Co Wexford
Image: YouTube screengrab

A REPORT FROM the Mental Health Commission arising out of an unannounced visit to St Senan’s Hospital in Co Wexford has said that its expected closure next March is “most welcome.”

The 24 July inspection covered three wards in the hospital: St Christopher’s Ward, St Enda’s Ward and St Elizabeth’s Ward.

While building conditions remained poor “there were no plans to renovate the building” due to its closure next year.

Reports for the last three years have shown the premises as not being of a suitable standard. All occupied areas were still kept “very clean”, however, with the report commending the hospital’s cleaning staff.

St Christopher’s Ward came in for the harshest criticism, with inspectors left “extremely concerned about the lack of provision by the service of essential therapies for residents with intellectual disability”.

Apart from a single session a week by a recreational therapist, they found no other therapeutic input:

There was no social work, psychology or occupational therapy input. No sensory equipment was evident in the ward. There was no input from a specialist intellectual disability service.

This lack of therapy had led to residents engaging in “severe institutionalised and maladaptive behaviour”.

On the issue of staff training, the inspection uncovered that only one nurse had begun training in how to deal with intellectual disability and mental illness.

Medical care was found to be good in the ward, however.

Care plans for individual patients were absent from St Elizabeth’s Ward, while the two other wards benefited from “excellent” care plans.

Of the12 recommendations made in last year’s report, only four had been fully achieved at the time of the unannounced inspection.

When interviewed during the visit, residents at the hospital “spoke highly of nursing staff”.

New recommendations issued included the urgent provision of therapeutic services, the training of all staff in intellectual disability and mental illness and the provision of individual care plans in St Elizabeth’s Ward.

The report noted that the community services of South Wexford in general were “excellent.”

Read: Privacy improves at St Ita’s Hospital but units remain “unsuitable for residents” – report >

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Paul Hyland

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