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01 Jul 2022

High risk non compliances found at psychiatry unit at Lourdes in Drogheda

Mental Health Commission publishes inspection report

High risk non compliances found at psychiatry unit at Lourdes in Drogheda

High risk non compliances found at psychiatry unit at Lourdes in Drogheda

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has published an inspection report on the Department of Psychiatry at Our Lady of Lourdes General Hospital in Drogheda, which found six high risk cases of non-compliance at the psychiatry unit. It was one of three inspection reports published by the MHC, which found one critical and sixteen high-risk non-compliances across three mental health centres in Clare, Louth and Offaly.

In the report on the the Department of Psychiatry in Drogheda, it said that the centre recorded an overall compliance rate of 82%, a decrease of 12% from the overall compliance of 94% it received in 2020. All six non-compliances at the centre were rated as high risk and related to: individual care plan; therapeutic services and programmes; general health; staffing; premises and the code of practice relating to admission of children.

The report said that the centre lacks age-appropriate facilities, and a programme of activities appropriate to a child’s age and ability; it is not a dedicated child and adolescent facility and therefore is not a suitable facility for the admission of a minor. There was no documented evidence to indicate that a child had their rights explained to them and information about the ward and facilities were provided in a form and language that they could understand.

The centre was not kept in a good state of repair externally and internally. Specifically, there were ongoing issues relating to fire doors, many of which had been replaced or were waiting replacement. This was being managed by the service in consultation with a fire protection and fire safety company. It was reported by staff that there were ongoing issues with dampness in the building. 

The therapeutic services and programmes provided by the centre were not appropriate and did not meet the assessed needs of the residents as documented in their individual care plans. Therapeutic services and programmes were not directed towards restoring and maintaining optimal levels of physical and psychosocial functioning of residents. 

The clinical files of three residents who had been in the centre over six months were reviewed. The six-monthly health assessment template included space for a physical examination, family or personal history, blood pressure, smoking status, dental health, nutritional status, a medication review, body mass-index and weight.

The review evidenced that two assessments did not document the family or personal history. One did not document the body mass-index and two did not include the waist circumference. None of the three evidenced that the residents blood pressure had been recorded and documented. Two of the three did not have an assessment of dental health.

Commenting on the inspections across the three counties, Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty said, “all of the centres inspected were non-compliant with the regulation relating to premises. We see issues with buildings not being maintained, bathrooms not being ventilated and the lack of sufficient privacy for patients. These environments are not conducive to the treatment and recovery of people with mental illness.” 

The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly, commented on the number of high and critical risks identified. “It is quite shocking that across three centres you would see this number of serious issues. Frankly, it is unacceptable, and we are seeking urgent improvements from the service providers, some changes have already been made in terms of patient safety and we will be monitoring these plans going forward.”

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