A Health Information and Quality Authority report into St Joseph's Hospital in Ennis in Co Clare, which provides short and long-term care and respite for older residents, found there were "periods of months" when some residents did not have a shower during a Covid-19 outbreak at the facility.

A HIQA inspection took place on 10-11 March this year when there were 65 residents at the HSE-run facility, which provides a mixture of single-bed and multi-occupancy accommodation.

There was a significant outbreak of Covid-19 infection at the home at the time, which had an impact on residents' ability to move around, and all communal areas were locked and closed off.

Inspectors found that residents felt management were taking all measures to protect them and there was high praise for staff efforts.

However, residents said they were not allowed to have showers as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Inspectors reviewed the care records, which evidenced there were "periods of month" when residents did not have a shower.

They had discussions with nursing management at the hospital, who took immediate action and on day two of the inspection all residents that chose to have a shower were facilitated.

They also found gaps in staff training, and senior management were not aware of these. In addition they said there needed to be improvements in governance and management to ensure safe delivery of services.

The decision to move residents back into a unit when construction works were not completed showed a lack of a risk assessment of exposure to dust and noise, and did not provide a calm and safe environment for residents.

They also observed that residents with dementia at the unit were content in the company of staff and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

Responding to the findings, Mid West Community Healthcare has apologised for the shortcomings in compliance identified in the report.

It said evidence of high standards of care were identified and there were also a number of areas of non compliance.

It says St Joseph's provides an essential service to the population of Co Clare, and is an integral part of the community.

A statement said Chief officer Maria Bridgeman and management and staff at St Joseph's Hospital acknowledge the non compliance and they would like to apologise to residents and families for not meeting the required standards.

It said the HSE will continue to work with staff and with the regulator towards full compliance with all standards, and as part of this process a review was started on 28 April last.