Hand hygiene must be a priority for Portlaoise hospital

Hand Hygiene in Portlaoise hospital must be addressed as a priority according to the latest hygiene and infection prevention inspection report published last week by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

While the report deemed The Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise to be generally clean, the inspectors said that a culture of hand hygiene had not been embedded across the hospital, after inspectrors observed that just 32 out of 41 hand hygiene opportunities were taken during the assessment.

HIQA found that poor hand-washing practice is potentially putting patients at risk of acquiring a hospital associated infection.

According to the report, these hand hygiene opportunities comprised: 14 opportunities before touching a patient, 13 after touching a patient and 14 after touching the patient’s surroundings.

Of the 41 opportunities available, 32 were taken, 26 of which complied with best practice hand hygiene technique. Of the nine hand hygiene opportunities not taken, one was before touching a patient and eight were after touching the patient’s surroundings. The remaining six opportunities taken were observed to be non-compliant due to not following best practice technique for hand washing or use of alcohol gel and/or length of time taken to complete hand hygiene.

“The reported compliance rates for the Hospital would indicate that a culture of hand hygiene is not yet embedded across the organisation, and this must be addressed as a priority by the Hospital,” the report said

HIQA inspectors surveyed: Intensive Care Unit, Medical Ward, Surgical Ward, Coronary Care Unit and the Maternity Unit on December 4, last year.

Their report recommended that the hospital should review the number of beds with the Intensive Care Unit in the context of patient privacy, comfort and confidentiality.

The ICU could accommodate up to four non-ventilated patients or up to two ventilated patients. At the time of assessment, the Authority found the facility very crowded, which could potentially compromise patient privacy, comfort and confidentiality. It also restricted the ability of staff to move freely within the unit or the comfort of family members visiting a patient in the ICU.

Overall, the Authority found that the Maternity ward was clean, however, there were several areas requiring attention. A stained pillow case was seen on a bed ready for use and this was brought to the staff’s attention. In the patient areas assessed, paintwork on borders at the base of walls was observed to be cracked with paint missing in some areas. Paint was also missing from parts of radiator surfaces observed and some bedside lockers were worn around the edges which prevented completion of effective cleaning, thereby posing a hygiene risk to patients.

The Medical Ward environment assessed was also clean; floors throughout were observed to be clean and free of dirt, grit and spillages.

However, the edge of the flooring in patient areas was lifting in some areas hindering effective cleaning throughout and light dust was observed on high surfaces, for example, on top of electric units and curtain rails posing a hygiene risk to patients, according to the report. There were also some issues in the surgical ward such as chipped paint, old and worn lockers and the inappropiate storage of broken equipment.

Overall, the Authority found the Coronary Care Unit environment and patient areas assessed to be clean.


Back to the top of the page