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Six Cavan nursing homes in breach of regulations

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 26th August, 2009 12:00pm

Just one private nursing home in Co. Cavan is compliant with current regulations, reports from unannounced inspections have revealed. Of seven private nursing homes in the county, just the Esker Lodge in Cavan town was found to be fully compliant with all 59 regulations in areas relating to care and staffing, management of the facility and the physical environment of the nursing homes.

The following nursing homes were found to be substantially compliant: College View Nursing Home, Clones Road, Cavan; Castlemanor Nursing Home, Drumalee, Cavan and the Omega Nursing Home, Belturbet.

St. Joseph's Nursing Home, Virginia had "partially addressed" some non-compliance issues identified in a previous inspection. However, the Fairlawns Nursing Home in Bailieboro and the Sheelin Nursing Home, Mountnugent had not addressed certain non compliance issues raised during previous unannounced inspections.


The inspection was conducted on February 12 this year.

Issues relating to sufficient activities for residents, privacy, appropriate seating for residents unable to use armchairs, health and safety, hygiene and infection control, record keeping, cleaning and repairs, ventilation and lighting were all highlighted in the report.

On the day of the inspection call bells were not working satisfactorily, were absent or not plugged in. When activated, the volume of the bell was not loud enough for nurses to hear it in the corridors.

Residents were being transported in wheelchairs without footrests, so that their feet were trailing on the ground.

A security issue in respect of patients' personal belongings was raised. A sum of money belonging to one resident was found in an unlocked filing cabinet in the nurses' office. It exceeded the maximum 100 (punt) covered by insurance in relation to any one resident. The report noted that this was a recurrent issue.

The inspector also found that residents' clothes were not being maintained properly. "In many instances clothes were piled high and on opening the wardrobe fell out on the floor."

The level of heating in the chapel area was found to be 14 degrees C, whereas the regulations stipulate heating should be 21 degrees C in any day areas.

The inspector also noted in his report that a complaint had been made in relation to an individual at the home. He requested a copy of the outcome of the investigation of this complaint within five days of the home receiving a copy of his report. At the time of going to print, the HSE had not confirmed the substance of the complaint nor the outcome of the investigation pertaining to same.

Brigid Cahill, the person recorded as being in charge of Fairlawns at the time of the inspection, told The Anglo-Celt that all non-compliance issues outlined in the most recent inspection report had been addressed.

She described many sections of the nursing home reports as "an awful lot ado about very minor things". In general, Ms Cahill said that the nursing home is well run and the patients well looked after. "There's no real danger arising out of any of these issues," she concluded.

For each non-compliance issue outlined in the report, the inspector listing a number of required actions to address the issues. A timeline is put on each action, ranging from immediately to a couple of months.

For example Fairlawns were given two weeks to rectify the call bell situation, while immediate action was demanded on heating levels in the chapel.

Sheelin, Mountnugent

The most recent inspection report recorded on the HSE website for the Sheelin Nursing Home relates to an unannounced inspection on January 22 last. The inspector noted that a number of non-compliance issues highlighted in a previous report had not been rectified.

The fire alarm system had been reconfigured to sound differently to the nurse call bell, after it was highlighted in a previous report.

The inspector claimed that he opened the fire exit door in the visitor's room."The alarm sounded immediately, however despite leaving the alarm to ring for approximately three minutes and remaining in the room for a further hour, no staff member responded to the alarm. Given the current resident profile in the nursing home, which includes mobile, confused residents, this poses a potential serious risk from a health and safety security perspective," reads the report.

Claire Johnston, the person in charge at the Sheelin Nursing Home, told The Anglo-Celt this week that all non-compliances outlined in the most recent report had been addressed.

She disputed the claim in the report by the inspector that he had remained in the visitors' room for an hour after sounding the fire alarm and emphasised that any issues in relation to the bell had been addressed.

Other non-compliance issues outlined in the report include: inadequate water flow from taps, decoration, nursing records, hygiene and infection control, lighting and ventilation.

St. Joseph's, Virginia

The nursing home at Lurgan Glebe was inspected on April 6 last. Non-compliance issues were raised in respect of nursing records, record of drugs and medicines administered, health and safety, cleanliness, accommodation and bedding, privacy and hygiene and infection control.

As with Fairlawns in Virginia, the inspector noted that some wheelchairs had no footrests and patients' feet were trailing on the ground. Also the air temperature in the day room was a half a degree below that stipulated by the regulations.

New regime

From July 1, an independent authority has taken over responsibility for the registration and inspection of all residential care services for older people. For the first time, HSE run centres, as well as private and voluntary nursing homes, will also be subject to inspection. The responsibility for registration and inspection now lies with the Health Information and Quality Authority. Its inspectors will continue to conduct unannounced inspections and publish its reports online at

If inspectors find that a service is unsafe or standards are not being met, the chief inspector has legal power to take a number of actions.

In addition to demanding changes to the service, the chief inspector can also bring prosecutions under the Health Act or even cancel the registration of a centre, thereby shutting it down.

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