A patient was subject to an extended episode of seclusion at a Dublin mental health unit, a report by the Mental Health Commission has found.
A medical practitioner at St Aloysius Ward in the Mater Misercordiae University Hospital, Dublin, extended the seclusion order to a total of three renewals over 24-hour continual seclusion, which exceeded the stipulated legal timeframe.
The report, one of three published today, also found that furnishings in the seclusion room were not of a design and quality to ensure respect for resident dignity and safety.
The walls in the seclusion room were hard and were not padded.
Inspector of Mental Health Services Dr Susan Finnerty: "Seclusion can have harmful physical and psychological consequences for patients, and its use is highly regulated in Ireland.
"For a resident to be placed in seclusion for an extended period without being informed of the reasons for the episode and without receiving the required physical examinations is of concern, as this could increase feelings of distress and fear."
Chief Executive of Mental Health Commission John Farrelly said: "This level of risk indicates a failure by these services to meet the level of care required in a modern mental health facility and demonstrates once again the inadequacy of some of these premises.
"The discovery of environmental hazards is particularly worrisome as these pose an unacceptable level of risk to both patients and staff in what should be a very safe and secure environment."
The ward is located at the back of the Mater Misercordiae University Hospital and has 13 registered beds.
The centre achieved 72% compliance on the inspection
It received a high-risk non-compliance on the regulation relating to premises as hazards were not minimised.
The radiator guard in the family room was broken and had a hole in it. There was also a very hot exposed pipe in the day room.
The Department of Psychiatry in Portlaoise was also inspected by the Commission.
It is located on the ground floor within the southern section of the Midland Regional Hospital and is registered to accommodate 42 residents.
The centre achieved 72% compliance on the inspection.
It received ten non-compliances, with a high-risk non-compliance for its policy on the amdission of children. Age-appropriate facilities and a programme of activities were not provided.
The Central Mental Hospital, which is part of the National Forensic Mental Health Service located in Dundrum, Dublin, was also inspected.
It is registered to accommodate 103 residents.
The centre achieved 74% compliance on the inspection.
It received nine non-compliances, three of which were risk-rated high. These related to privacy, premises, and rules governing the use of seclusion.
There were no blinds on some of the bedroom doors and in several units the full names of residents were written on bedroom doors.
Mould was observed on the ceiling and shower curtains and there were leaks and heavily-stained floors in several bathrooms.
The centre received a high-risk non-compliance on seclusion because the seclusion rooms were not of a design and quality that ensured patient safety due to them having hard walls.