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Going a month without a shower at HSE-run home is "intolerable"

Numerous shortcomings were found by a Hiqa report published yesterday.

THE GOVERNMENT MINISTER with responsibility for the care of older people has said that it is “intolerable” that some residents at a Leitrim hospital went up to a month without a bath or shower.

A Hiqa report into St Patrick’s Community Hospital in Carrick-on-Shannon detailed a range of shortcomings including infrequent washing among some residents.

Inspectors found that while residents were offered a bath or shower once a fortnight, if there was no staff available on the day, or residents declined, then a month could pass before the residents were properly washed.

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch said such “basic” needs should be provided immediately.

“It is intolerable that a basic thing like access to showers is not facilitated and this needs to be addressed immediately in St Patrick’s with every resident through their care plan,” the Labour minister said this afternoon.

“It is my expectation that an action plan is put in place and acted on without delay.”

Hiqa’s published report says that the lack of opportunities for residents to shower or bath meant that their personal care was inadequate. It added that these problems had been raised following a previous inspection but had not been addressed.

The report also issues concern over the dormitory style in the home which they say impacted on the “privacy and dignity” of residents.

The Alzheimer Society of Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch. graphy: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland graphy: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The inspectors found there wasn’t enough staff to meet the needs of the residents and that current staff were not deployed correctly.

Fianna Fáil has described the findings of the Hiqa report as “shocking” with Colm Keaveney TD saying the revelations are an “absolute scandal”.

“The centre is clearly seriously short-staffed and even the most basic care has been lacking in many cases. It seems that management failed to act on warnings made following previous inspections,” Keaveney says, adding that a response should be forthcoming from Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.

But Minister Lynch has said that Hiqa has performed its role in identifying the issues at St. Patrick’s and that the HSE will now act on them.

“The HSE has accepted these findings and is taking immediate steps to address them”, she said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said that the problems at the community hospital stem from the “failure of the HSE to recruit additional nursing staff” and an additional failure to “recognise the risks to patients as identified by nurses”.

Read: Elderly residents of HSE-run home went without a shower for a month >

Read: Áras Attracta: Another staff member suspended at controversial Mayo home >

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