The health watchdog has revealed it has received a ‘high number’ of allegations of abuse in St Patrick’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Some of the incidents had been referred to the gardaí.
Since the last Hiqa inspection, 11 notifications of alleged, suspected or actual abuse were reported, while six further incidents of aggression and violence in Monsignor Young unit and three in Dr McGarry ward were reported.
In October, Hiqa carried out an announced inspection of St Patrick’s Hospital.
The current registration expires in June and the HSE is seeking to decrease the permitted resident numbers from 85 to 46, with 41 currently living there.
The inspection finds that five of the nine areas analysed were found to be moderately noncompliant, with the remainder being compliant.
Hiqa analysed the premises itself to see if it was ‘safe and suitable’, but deemed it to be moderately noncompliant.
While improvement was noted in some wards, the watchdog claims significant improvement was needed in the layout, décor and maintenance of the Monsignor Young unit.
It notes there was a malodour from the room, a lack of privacy and dignity in some cubicles, with beds visible along open corridors by those passing through the wards.
The HSE has given a detailed response on how all these issues are being addressed.
While noting it’s planned to rebuild the facility, Hiqa says funding approval and a timeframe remains outstanding.
The regulator also reveals it had been notified a ‘high number of notifications of alleged abuse’ at the facility recently, some referred to the gardaí and the local safeguarding team.
Hiqa says these incidents were ongoing and prevalent in two areas, the Dr McGarry and Monsignor Young units.
In some of these cases, measures such as one-to-one staffing were put in place, but Hiqa says incidents of aggression and violence towards residents or staff had still occurred when these provisions were in place.
Hiqa inspector followed-up on the notifications, including those of a serious injury, and found that staff had learnt from the incidents, with measures put in place to ensure no recurrence.
The HSE claims many of the recent allegations of abuse in the facility were due to issues caused by patients with dementia.
It notes that upon review, the dementia unit accounted for the majority of these alleged incidents, noting all the ward’s residents have dementia, with varying needs.
It says many of the residents are mobile and do not have spatial awareness and are unaware when they invade each other’s space.
The executive says all these incidents were reported to Hiqa and the hospital’s safeguarding team, which supported staff in dealing with each incident.
The HSE says measures have been put in place to mitigate the risk of recurrences, while staff are receiving further training in dealing with such behaviour.
It notes how Hiqa’s report says residents confirmed they felt safe, secure and well cared.
The HSE also notes the standard of cleanliness throughout the centre was excellent and significant improvements were noted in Dr McGarry and Sheemore wards.