Monday 27 January 2020

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Ward flaws under spotlight at St Finbarr’s

Thursday, 9th January, 2020 9:07am

Plans are in place to address issues raised in a new report about a mental health centre in Cork city.

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) this week published an inspection report of St Catherine’s Ward in St Finbarr’s Hospital which detailed several flaws. The report found that bedrooms were in a poor state and residents’ privacy and dignity was not respected.

It found that single bedrooms did not have locks on the inside of the door and that the residents could not use their bedrooms, located downstairs, from early morning until about 10pm.

“If a resident preferred to sleep during this time they did so in an armchair,” the report said. The inspection also found that the centre was not kept in a good state of repair throughout internally. Some of the bedrooms were in a poor state and there was holes in some of the walls in the day area.

It found that there was a significant number of deficits in the ten individual care plans MHC inspected.For residents with special dietary requirements, an evidence-based nutrition assessment tool had not been used, the inspection found.

In terms of general health, two of five clinical files inspected indicated that the resident had not received a physical examination within the previous six-month timeframe. The nutritional status had not been documented in any of the five clinical files inspected while one of five had not had an assessment of dental health. Adequate arrangements were not in place for residents to access general health services and for their referral to other health services, as required.

A statement from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, who look after mental health services for the HSE, said: “We accept and acknowledge the report of the MHC on St Catherine’s. Our staff work very hard to provide a high level of care and to meet regulatory standards, and it is of course a matter of concern for us when those standards aren’t met.

“As the report points out, detailed plans are in place to address all of the issues raised and these plans have been agreed with the MHC. Initiatives to address every point raised in the report have been agreed with the MHC. For example, the report acknowledges that steps had already been taken to ensure that residents could access the bedroom area during the day, and recruitment is underway to allow this.”

The statement continued: “Each current resident will have a multidisciplinary team review of their individual care plans, and this is also nearing completion. The report also acknowledged that an audit in October found a significant improvement in respect of the completion of individual care plans.

“While we absolutely accept that there were areas for improvement identified in the report, we note that the commission also acknowledged that ‘there was clear evidence that changes had occurred since the previous inspection that impacted positively on the approved centre’. We also note that when the commission met with residents, they were complimentary about the staff, praised the food and indicated that they felt there was enough to do during the day.

“The MHC also stated that feedback from the Irish Advocacy Network about the centre was positive. The commission’s report also identified a number of quality improvement initiatives underway.”

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