07 Jul 2022

Big overhaul at Laois nursing home where Covid-19 claimed lives

Residents now 'feel safe'

Laois nursing homes boss blames HSE recruitment for critical HIQA report

Droimnín Nursing Home Stradbally

The nursing home in Stradbally where more than 20 people died after catching Covid-19 at the start of the Delta wave has undergone a significant overhaul part of which has involved the closure to new admissions to facilitate changes.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has just published a new report on the centre following the latest of its unannounced inspections into the Droimnín Nursing Home.

The report found that the home is now compliant or substantially compliant in all categories by which standards are monitored. It reported on changes that have occurred since January 2021 when the home was engulfed by infections.

"Governance, management and oversight of the service was significantly strengthened since the last inspection in February 2021. Systems to monitor the quality and safety of the service were improved and were informing service improvements.

"The recruitment of a new senior management team since the last inspection in February provided evidence of good oversight and provision of good standards of care to meet residents' needs," it said.

HIQA reported that when the visited in June 2021 its inspectors were told that the premises was undergoing significant changes which meant no new residents had moved.

"The inspectors were told by the person appointed to represent the provider that the centre was closed to new admissions to facilitate a centre-wide programme of refurbishment of the internal premises and upgrading of utility supply systems.

"This action combined with an intensive programme of infection prevention and control training for staff provided assurances
that high standards of environmental maintenance and effective cleaning and infection prevention and control practices and procedures would be achieved," it said.

HIQA also reported that changes were made to the company board of directors which were notified to the Chief Inspector as required.

The health watchdog reported that the Stradbally facility was still in recover mode following the outbreak.

"The centre was continuing to recover after experiencing a large COVID-19 outbreak in January 2021 that affected residents and staff. A post COVID-19 review was completed and areas identified as needing improvement were being actioned by the
provider to prevent further infection outbreaks and to strengthen preparedness if further outbreaks occur.

"Although, the number of residents in the centre was reduced by approximately 50%, the provider maintained pre COVID-19 outbreak staffing levels and skill mix. A new person in charge and a clinical director were recently appointed and an
assistant director of nursing (ADON) and two clinical nurse managers (CNMs) had been recruited," it said.

The HIQA report which was published on October 8 said the inspectors were told that a full senior clinical staff team would
be in place in the centre by 06 August 2021. 

The Inspectors also spoke to residents of the home which can accommodate over 100 people. 

"Some residents told the inspectors that they had contracted the virus and were grateful that it was over. One resident described her experience as a 'bad memory'. All residents who talked about COVID-19 expressed their satisfaction that
they had received the vaccination and their comments included 'feel safe', 'able to get back to some level of normality' and 'feel less fearful'. Residents were very pleased that their families and friends were able to come into the centre to visit
them again," said the report.

One of the inspectors followed up on issues raised in unsolicited information received by the Health Information and
Quality Authority regarding safeguarding of residents, visiting arrangements, standards of nursing care and communication. HIQA said its inspectors' findings on the day of the June inspection did not substantiate these concerns.

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