NURSING HOME’S HORROR REPORT
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
A DAMNING inspection report into a Newry care home found it to be failing across four categories of legislative standards - including taking the required steps to stop spread of the potentially fatal superbug MRSA.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (FQIA) inspection, carried out in November, resulted in Ardmaine Care Home, which offers nursing care for older people as well as specialist residential care for those with Dementia, being hit with four Failure to Comply Notices for breaches of the Nursing Home Regulations (NI) 2005.
The Fullerton Road facility - which on its website boasts of its "homely and welcoming atmosphere" and "high standard of care 24 hours a day" - had failed to ensure the overall
management, in keeping with legislative and best practice requirements, of MRSA infection.
Among the inspection's findings was
evidence of, what the Inspector deemed to be, faeces on bedroom floors, bed rail protectors and crash mats - some of which were stored against patients' beds or bedroom furniture.
Clinical waste and laundry receptacles weren't provided in the bedrooms of all MRSA patients as is required and the management of sharps was also not in keeping with best practice.
The "quality and robustness" of infection control audits carried out prior to one conducted on November 12 last year - the day before the inspection - were also called into question by the Inspector.
Creams and lotions in bedrooms were found to be mislabelled, with evidence of labels being torn off containers and the name of a different patient written on as well as, in one instance, a patient's barrier cream being found in the bedroom of another patient.
Toothbrushes, tooth mugs, razors and receptacles for dentures were deemed dirty, with many of the bedrooms also being below par in the cleanliness stakes.
Toiletries and, in some cases, food were found on top of patients' clothing in drawers, while clothes in most bedrooms were found to be "crumpled into drawers, bedside lockers and wardrobes and, in some cases, on the wardrobe floor".
“Clothing was not folded or put onto hangers. It appeared both clean and soiled clothing was stored together," the Inspector told the FQIA.
“The Housekeeper informed the Inspector that there were insufficient domestic staff on duty to keep the home clean. This was verified through the inspection process." one of the Failure to Comply Notices states, adding: "There was a malodour throughout the home."
Bedrooms meanwhile, were found to be shabby and sparsely furnished. Some occupied rooms were without bed linen and an overall lack of same was identified within the Home as a whole. What bed linen there was, was deemed to be of poor quality and, in some cases, stained. Blankets in use were found to be worn and, in some cases, have holes in them.
Furniture in some rooms was deemed "not fit for purpose", while some floor coverings in bedrooms were heavily stained and worn. Corridor carpeting was found to be joined in some areas by tape, presenting a trip hazard.
A number of outstanding issues regarding requirements submitted by the FQIA following previous inspections were also identified.
These included proposals in relation to a programme of improvements for communal washing facilities, improvements needed to separate to the plumbing and heating installations and prevent water leaks into the heating system. Ongoing deficiencies were evidenced in the home's central heating system, which the Inspector warned were "preventing appropriate and comfortable temperatures from being maintained within all areas of the Home at all times".
Of the four Failure to Comply Notices issued following November inspection, Ardmaine met only two by the January 16 deadline. Those deemed to have achieved compliance were in relation to infection control and patient privacy and dignity. Both were lifted on January 18.
Two Notices, having been deemed as not met, were extended until February 21. These are in relation to furnishing and repair of the premises.
The owner of Ardmaine Care Home, Jim McCall, said delay in achieving compliance on the outstanding Notices is down to "a number of technical issues" encountered during underground pipe re-laying.
“Also the work has to be carried out in the context of minimising any disruption to residents," he said.
“The problem with the damp carpets resulted entirely from the leaking pipes. We had previously replaced carpets in these areas of the home but they became damp because of the leaks.
“We have been advised by the Inspectorate that they are satisfied progress has been made to date and we expect that, as a result of completion of this work, the remaining notices will be lifted in the coming weeks."
Referring to the issues raised within the now defunct Notices, Mr McCall said: "We regret that in these aspects the home fell below the standards we usually deliver, and that our residents are entitled to expect. We have been carrying out an improvement plan as well as a bigger programme of work."
He added that the problems in Ardmaine should be seen "in context".
“This a home that Four Seasons Health Care took on following the failure of Southern Cross and it had suffered from lack of capital investment in maintaining the building," he said.
“We have invested many millions of pounds in refurbishment of former Southern Cross homes and have a programme of improvements under way at Ardmaine that includes renewing elements of the plumbing and heating and replacing underground pipes with an above ground system, so that it may be maintained more efficiently and any future leaks are immediately apparent and can be dealt with.
“Four Seasons has invested in improving the environment and furnishings in Ardmaine to ensure that we provide the highest quality of care for our residents. I regret that we have been subject to Failure To Comply notices but would assure you and your readers that we have worked tirelessly to address the issues reported by the RQIA."
A spokesman for the RQIA said it will continue to monitor the quality of service provided to residents of the Home.
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