An Ahascragh nursing home has been criticised by health inspectors following a major outbreak of Covid-19 last year.
The staffing crisis at the Nightingale Nursing Home near Ballinsloe last October was raised in the Dail after the HSE was required to intervene when just three staff were left to care for over twenty residents.
This Hiqa inspection took place in early November and was conducted after concerns were raised about the “governance and management of the centre” during the Covid outbreak.
Cases of the virus among staff and residents were first reported on October 19th and resulted in 28 residents and 14 staff testing positive as well as subsequently the death of five residents.
Due to their exposure, the person in charge, as well as the provider representative, were not able to attend the centre, and one clinical nurse, as well as two care staff, were available to residents.
The HIQA report notes that the outbreak highlighted vulnerabilities in the service that required review, including efforts to ensure there was sufficient staffing, improvements in record keeping, infection prevention and control in the event of a similar outbreak in the future.
Inspectors highlighted concern over staffing levels, claiming that a review of the roster “did not provide assurance that the centre had adequate staffing numbers and skill mix” in case of second Covid outbreak, as well as not enough cleaning staff and just one person working in the kitchen.
The issue of staff resources was of “considerable” concern in light of the HSE providing additional support to assist the centre during its first outbreak, and Hiqa warned that if such an outbreak was to occur again, the provider would be unable to staff the centre.
Hiqa also raised concerns over the record-keeping at the Ballinasloe nursing home –recording a non-compliance in relation to its mix of paper and electronic records.
Governance and management was also deemed non-compliant - and of eight regulations inspected, three were non-compliant, three were substantially compliant and two were compliant.
Responding to the report, management outlined that the proprietor was seeking to hire extra nursing and care staff and two full-time staff nurses were due to begin work at the end of March, and all records were due to be transferred to an electronic record system by the end of February.
Inspectors acknowledged that the centre had been through a difficult time and staff and management always had the best interests of residents at the forefront of everything they did. Residents also told Hiqa that they were well looked after and all their care needs were met.
The full Hiqa report is available here: