County Meath: Elderly Nursing Home Residents Were At Risk Of Hypothermia Court Hears: UPDATED

21 Jun

RESIDENTS of a nursing home in Co Meath were at risk of hypothermia and had to be given blankets and hot drinks by inspectors because the heating was not working properly, a court has heard.

An inspector with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) also told Drogheda District Court the agency had recorded more than 19 falls in a six-week period at Creevelea House, a nursing home that had also been broken into three times.

The court also heard the home “was not clean” and had an inadequate food supply — fresh vegetables at the home amounted to one bag of potatoes and a turnip. There was also no meat.

The inspector was giving evidence during an application relating to Creevelea House Ltd, registered operator of Creevelea House Nursing Home.

HIQA is asking the court to cancel its registration as a nursing home.

The application is being opposed by Peter Murphy, director of the company and the registered provider of the home.

The authority says it has “serious concerns” about the health and welfare of residents at the home. They relate to lack of governance, clinical management, lack of staff training and that there is no person in charge as required by regulation.

In evidence covering several inspections, HIQA inspector Nuala Rafferty said the first inspection took place in March 2010 after a resident’s niece contacted the authority with concerns about his care.

Ms Rafferty said that when the inspectors arrived they found “nobody running” the home and “nobody overseeing the management of residents”.

The court heard how Mr Murphy lived in Limerick and that there was no emergency plan in place. A staff member was put in charge last year but resigned in December as she felt she was not getting the support she needed.

Ms Rafferty said that, during an inspection on November 20, 2010, “staff complained of being cold”.

The inspectors found only four bedrooms were warm. The other bedrooms and all the communal rooms were “very cold”.

Inspectors returned the following morning and found all were 2C to 3C below what they should have been. Seven residents had temperatures below 36C and were “verging at risk of hypothermia”.

The inspectors directed staff to give out warm drinks and extra blankets.

The court heard that, in April, Mr Murphy undertook to meet a number of commitments required by HIQA but yesterday the authority said while there have been some improvements it still believes there is a “serious risk” to the remaining nine residents.

Mr Murphy is expected to give evidence when the hearing resumes in two weeks.

NEWS UPDATE:

HIQA have moved to have a Co Meath nursing home struck from the register.

 
 Creevelea - HIQA 'concerned' over Co Meath home

Creevelea – HIQA ‘concerned’ over Co Meath home
 
The Health Information and Quality Authority has begun a court action to strike off a Co Meath nursing home from the register.

Drogheda District Court has been told that HIQA inspectors have grave concerns for the health and safety of residents of the Creevelea Nursing Home in Laytown.

The court was told that when HIQA inspector Nuala Rafferty visited the home was so cold staff were ordered to give residents blankets and hot drinks to keep them warm.

The communal areas and bedrooms were so cold that residents were on the verge of being at risk of suffering hypothermia, the inspector said.

Ms Rafferty said she had visited the premises on many occasions but concerns were not being addressed, while the owner of Creevelea, Peter Murphy said he felt he was being intimidated and bullied by HIQA.

Ms Rafferty also gave evidence on one occasion, no one could tell her the last time a frail 93-year-old woman had eaten, while another 66-year-old diabetic man was not being monitored properly.

As regards governance, she said there was one nurse who was always contacted by other staff to find out what do to regardless if she was off or even away on holidays. There was no person in charge for long periods, said Ms Rafferty alleged.

On one inspection Ms Rafferty said she found in the kitchen that the only fresh food was a bag of potatoes and a turnip.

Barrister for HIQA Ronan Kennedy told the court that there had been various undertakings given at earlier court hearings but these had not been fully complied with.

There are concerns over lack of governance, medication, clinical management and, in particular, that there is no person in charge as there should be.

‘There is a serious risk to the health and welfare of residents in the home,’ he said.

So concerned are the HSE about Creevelea House, the court heard, that they have put in full time monitoring staff.

Mr Murphy has not yet given evidence. He is opposing the HIQA action to remove the nursing home from the register.

NEWS UPDATE:

SEVEN RESIDENTS at a private nursing home in Co Meath were at risk of hypothermia and food in the facility was scarce when it was inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority, a court heard yesterday.

Hiqa was at Drogheda District Court seeking an order to cancel the registration of Creevelea House Nursing Home in Laytown, which would effectively shut it down. The owners of the home are objecting to the application.

This is the fourth home which the watchdog has closed or tried to close since it began inspecting all public and private nursing homes in mid-2009. Nursing homes have been closed by it in Wicklow and Offaly and earlier this month the authority obtained an interim order at Dublin District Court effectively shutting down Rostrevor House Nursing Home in Rathgar.

The order was obtained without notice to its owners, after telling the court it had been informed of allegations that residents were beaten, kicked and abused in the home by a male care assistant since mid-2008. Rostrevor’s owners say the allegations are unfounded.

A Hiqa inspector told Drogheda District Court the Laytown home was not clean, there was no meat and the only fresh vegetables consisted of one bag of potatoes and a turnip when it was inspected last year.

The authority had concerns for a 93-year-old woman who might not have eaten for 24 hours. There was no nutritional plan for her and she had not been weighed, it said. A 66-year-old resident was not having his diabetes monitored properly and, although he had a history of falls, he was not adequately supervised, the court was told.

Nursing home inspector Nuala Rafferty said the first inspection took place in March last year after the niece of a resident got in touch because of concerns about his care.

When inspectors arrived they found “nobody running” the home and “nobody overseeing the management of residents”.

Peter Murphy, director of Creevelea House Ltd, lived in Limerick. Hiqa issued him with an emergency action plan but Ms Rafferty said he did not seem to be aware of the level of concerns they had. He felt that the inspectors were creating problems for him and he felt bullied.

In an inspection in November, seven residents had temperatures below 36 degrees and were “verging at risk of hypothermia”, the court heard. Inspectors told staff to give out warm drinks and extra blankets.

In March this year there was still a lack of clinical governance and a lack of adequate care and residents were at risk, she said. The HSE was contacted and it carried out an assessment of the residents and since then it has had staff in the home.

In April Mr Murphy undertook to meet commitments required by Hiqa but yesterday the authority said while there have been some improvements it believes there is a “serious risk” to the home’s nine residents.

The hearing before Judge Flann Brennan will continue in two weeks.

———-

NEWS UPDATE:

CONCERNS ABOUT standards at a Co Meath nursing home were expressed yesterday during court proceedings to have it removed from the State-approved register, which would result in its closure.

Drogheda District Court was told residents experienced 19 falls over a six-week period at Creevelea House Nursing Home in Laytown.

The court was also told that heating at the home was not working properly, increasing risk of hypothermia for some residents, and that the home had been broken into three times.

The court also heard the home “was not clean” and, on inspection, the only fresh food in the kitchen was one bag of potatoes and a turnip. There was no meat.

The evidence was given by an inspector with the Health Information and Quality Authority during an application relating to Creevelea House Ltd, the registered operator of the home.

The authority is asking the court to cancel its registration as a nursing home, a decision that would close it down.

The application is opposed by Peter Murphy, director of the company and the registered provider of the home.

The authority says it has “serious concerns” about the health and welfare of residents at the home. These relate to lack of governance, clinical management, and lack of staff training.

An authority inspector Nuala Rafferty told Judge Flann Brennan the first of a number of inspections took place in March last year after the niece of a resident got in touch over concerns about his care.

Ms Rafferty said that when inspectors arrived they found “nobody running” the home, and “nobody overseeing the management of residents”.

Mr Murphy lived in Limerick, she said, and there was no emergency plan in place to guide staff on what to do in cases of difficulty.

The person staff contacted if there was a problem was a staff nurse who worked 24 hours a week, the court heard. She was to be contacted even when not working.

In reply to questions from Ronan Kennedy, for the authority, Ms Rafferty said inspectors met Mr Murphy and issued him with an emergency action plan.

She said he did not seem aware of the level of concerns they had, and felt that the inspectors were creating problems for him and he felt bullied and intimidated.

He also indicated he would prefer to talk to a senior management person in the authority.

The court heard of concerns about a 93-year-old woman who potentially had not eaten for 24 hours. There was no nutritional plan for her and she had not been weighed.

Another resident, aged 66, was not having his diabetes condition monitored properly and, although he had a history of falls, he was not adequately supervised, the court was told.

Inspectors had specific concerns about seven residents at the time of the first inspection, Ms Rafferty said.

The court heard there had been 19 falls over a six-week period. In one case a woman fractured her hip.

A person was appointed last year to take charge of the home but she resigned in December because she felt she was not getting the support she needed, the court heard.

Ms Rafferty said that on November 20th last, at the start of the bad cold spell, “staff complained of being cold” as she carried out a follow-up inspection.

The inspectors found only four bedrooms to be warm, the rest “very cold”, and all the communal rooms were also “very cold”.

They returned the following morning and found all were 2 to 3 degrees below what they should have been.

Seven residents had temperatures below 36 degrees and were “now verging at risk of hypothermia”, the court heard. The heating was not left on for long enough to reach an optimum level and remain there, it was claimed.

The inspectors directed staff to give out warm drinks and extra blankets.

Judge Brennan also heard that two of the four fuse boards did not meet electrical safety standards.

There had been three break-ins, one during which a resident heard somebody in a bathroom a short distance from her bedroom.

She believed it was another resident who had got locked in and she began to call out to him.

When staff arrived they found the window inside the bathroom had been broken and somebody had broken in.

The next morning a hacksaw was found outside and a shed in the grounds had been broken into.

There was no CCTV at the time but it was in place now and there were alarms on the windows, Ms Rafferty said.

There was no evacuation plan in place if a fire broke out, and while one was now in place, the court heard that staff did not know about it.

There were concerns about an alleged gas leak in the kitchen, and the chef had at one point gone home with violent headaches and vomiting.

In March this year the authority found there was still a lack of clinical governance and a lack of adequate care, and residents were at risk.

It contacted the HSE, which carried out an assessment of the residents and since then had had staff in the home.

In April, in court, Mr Murphy undertook to meet a number of commitments required by the authority but yesterday the authority said that while there had been some improvements, it still believed there was a “serious risk” to the remaining nine residents.

Staff numbers had dropped at the home and Ms Rafferty said yesterday: “It is not about numbers, it is about the needs of the residents.

“Our concerns are about the needs of older people and how they will deliver [on] them.”

Reports of two recent visits by the authority were given to the legal representative for the nursing home in court yesterday.

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