Some residents in a Health Service Executive-run nursing home in Co Clare had urinals hanging on their beds in close proximity to other residents, according to an inspection report published by the Health Information and Quality Authority.
One of the urinals needed to be emptied.
The watchdog also found that residents spent most of the day by their beds, and most had to eat their meals and receive visitors in over-crowded, multi-occupancy bedrooms.
The report published today on an unannounced inspection of Saint Joseph's Hospital in Ennis last August found that what should be a nursing home in fact appeared institutional, despite efforts by staff to relieve the overcrowding, for instance by developing a garden for the 80 residents.
Sixty-four of the residents were in the maximum-dependency category.
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The report states that the premises did not meet the individual and collective needs of any of the residents in terms of their privacy, personal space, access to dining and communal space and adequate and accessible sanitary facilities.
The watchdog says this had a significant negative impact on their quality of life.
The report also says:
- Two units had the capacity to accommodate 42 residents each and were of similar design and layout dominated by multi-occupancy rooms.
- There was no dining room or sitting room available on either unit and staff informed inspectors that residents ate all meals by their bedside.
- Most residents spent their day in bed or at their bedsides and they had limited space for the storage of personal possessions.
- Wardrobes were very small and clothes were seen on chairs, radiators and windowsills.
- They were also stored in bags on the floor near beds.
- Bags of soiled washing were seen stored on windowsills, on the floor next to and under beds, and in the wardrobe on top of clean clothes.
The report adds: "As a consequence of the prevalence of multi-occupancy rooms, the presence of medical and care materials on lockers and window sills and the fact that residents spent most of the day by their beds, the centre appeared institutionalised and hospital-like."
"There was very limited space to provide private assistance and care" within each resident's screened-off area.
There were not enough showers, no bath and on one unit one shower was available to the two dozen residents who could be accommodated.
Clear glass panels partially surrounding two of the six-bedded units exposed - to the gaze of other residents and passers-by on the corridor - a resident who had thrown back the bed clothes exposing incontinence wear.
Some residents had urinals hanging on their beds in close proximity to other residents and one urinal needed to be emptied.
The final action plan compiled by the HSE in response to the inspection was partially rejected by HIQA, but the remainder of the response is available on the watchdog's website.
In September the local District Court will review improvements which the HSE has promised to make to St Joseph's.