the HSE claim that they have addressed all issues raised by the health services watchdog at Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit earlier this year.
In a report on the hospital the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), raised concerns about serious staff shortages, residents activities during the day, medications and other policies and procedures.
In a statement to the Leinster Express, the HSE declined to comment on speculation that the report’s findings could culminated in the hospital’s closure.
The findings are contained in a report following HIQA’s second inspection visit to Abbeyleix, the first one had taken place in February 2010. This year’s visit was part of the registration process.
HIQA’s main concern following their visits on February 15 and 16 was staffing levels at the unit.
“Staffing levels were insufficient to meet some aspects of residents care,” the report stated.
The inspectors concluded that the ratio of staff to residents was not adequate due to the majority of residents being assessed as maximum dependency. As a result staff did not have sufficient time to focus on the social and psychological aspects of residents care.
The inspectors also expressed concern that some residents had very little to do during the day and sat in their chairs for long periods.
“While there was an activity coordinator employed and many residents were involved in group activities during the day, this was not the case for all residents,
“Because of the heavy workload, the activity coordinator had to work each morning on the floor delivering personal care to residents,” the report noted.
The inspectors also said that the centre was old and had a number of multi-occupancy bedrooms which did not meet the requirements of the standards.
But noted that “the staff worked hard to ensure dignity and privacy at all times, conversations and some aspects of care could not be carried out in private in shared rooms. The provider acknowledged this fact and said that he would put a plan in place to address the deficits.”
Other areas for improvement included: medication management in relation to prescribing and administration, management of the use of restraint, fire safety – specifically fire drills, assessments and care planning, infection control, data analysis.
Currently there are 33 residents in the Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit, which comprise of 28 longstay and 5 respite patients. Abbeyleix also provides Day Care Services for up to 90 people with an average of 25 people attending each day.
A spokesperson for the HSE said: “HIQA have completed their registration inspection of Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit on February 15/16, 2011. The HSE have addressed the issues raised at the time. There is no HIQA report outstanding in relation to Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit at this time.
The spokesperson added: “There is adequate staffing in place to provide good quality service to the residents and the unit is working within its current financial allocation.”
Sinead Whooley, communications manager for HIQA said they currently had “no issue” with Abbeyleix.
“The Authority will continue to monitor the progress made on implementing the actions to ensure that all are completed. We will inspect the home again in due course and will publish our report on it,” she said.
Meanwhile, the HSE said said no decision had been taken on the future of Shaen hospital and its possible closure.