A report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has found that the Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon town, was not a ‘safe and suitable premises’ for the residents.
The authority released their inspection report on the facility last week, which was based on an announced inspection on March 2.
They raised serious concerns about the facilities available in the hospital. The historic building, formerly Roscommon Workhouse, was built in 1842 and HIQA believe it falls significantly short of modern-day standards.
The Health Service Executive facility, which is effectively a public nursing home, accommodates a maximum of 95 residents.
The hospital was found to be ‘majorly non-compliant’ as regards being a ‘safe and suitable premises’. Inspectors identified breaches of residents’ privacy and dignity while being accommodated in multi-occupancy bedrooms, where some residents were sharing bedrooms of between four and 11 beds.
The report added: “The inspectors found that many of the communal areas, such as bathrooms, toilets and sluice facilities, were inadequate and too small to meeting residents’ and staffing needs.”
They also said that, in three of the units, there were “inadequate showering and toileting facilities to adequately meet the needs of the residents”. In one ward, there was only two showers and one bathroom for 20 residents.
The report added: “There were an insufficient number of toilets for the number of residents accommodated.”
Concerns were also raised about the fact that many of the toilets between bedroom areas were not wheelchair accessible. This meant that “residents had to use commodes or be assisted long distances to wheelchair accessible toilets at the other end of the wards”. The inspectors said that some residents had to walk or be assisted up to 23 metres to the nearest toilet or bathroom.
The report said that residents’ privacy and dignity was “significantly impacted” by the open-ward design.
Residents, staff and visitors had to walk through their bedroom areas to access other residents’ bedroom areas.
It was also found that there was a lack of storage facilities at the hospital.
Staff shortages at Sacred Heart Hospital
Residents and families ‘very happy’
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) have found that there were staffing shortages at the Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon town.
The hospital is made up of four units – St Catherine’s, St Joseph’s, St Michael’s and Our Lady’s – but the health watchdog found that, in the evening and at night, there was only two staff rostered in each ward.
The inspectors found that when a resident was very ill and required a lot of supervision, this impacted on the availability of the staff for the other residents who were also very dependent and required the support of two staff.
Overall, the inspectors said that they found that there was “inadequate staff support available at night” and that this “requires review”.
HIQA also said that a number of residents had “unwitnessed falls” in the centre.
On a more positive note, inspectors said that the centre was well managed and most of the outcomes inspected were compliant.
HIQA also said that residents and family members told inspectors that they were very happy with the services provided in the centre.
Independent TDs fear facility will close
Independent TDs Denis Naughten and Michael Fitzmaurice have raised fears that the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon town will close down.
Their comments come in light of the Health Information and Quality Authority’s (HIQA) highly critical inspection report, in which they deemed the facility not to be a ‘safe and suitable premises’.
They also said there were issues around staff shortages at the facility. Both TDs have expressed concerns that it will face closure, a fate that also befell the accident and emergency unit (A&E) at Roscommon Hospital.
Deputy Naughten said: “The hospital needs investment of about €11 million if it is to remain open under HIQA standards. I hope this investment will be forthcoming from the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar) in the coming weeks.
“We’ve already lost our A&E and we don’t want to see this valuable service for older people of Co. Roscommon being lost, due to a lack of urgently required investment.”
Deputy Fitzmaurice voiced similar views. “Roscommon has seen enough: they closed our A&E and other services,” he said.
“We cannot afford to stand by and watch the Sacred Heart Hospital suffer a similar fate.” Meanwhile, both TDs have leapt to the defence of various aspects of the facility, in light of last week’s damning report.
Deputy Naughten said he would have “no hesitation whatsoever” in recommending the unit. “While there is no doubt the building urgently needs significant investment, the care provided in the hospital is second to none,” he said.
Similarly, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “When one reads this report, it provides a glowing testament to the staff and management at the Sacred Heart Hospital.
“It confirms what the local community already knows – that the hospital is ‘well-managed’ – and it also acknowledges the residents and their families have said over and over again that they ‘happy with the services’.”