16 Aug 2022

Residents receive ‘good standard of care’ at Longford's Laurel Lodge Nursing Home

Laurel Lodge

Laurel Lodge in Longford town

Liam Cosgrove examines the findings from a mixed Hiqa report on Laurel Lodge Nursing Home

Senior management at a Longford nursing home were summoned to a “cautionary meeting” with the head of the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) team in the wake of concerns at the facility, it has emerged.

Laurel Lodge Nursing Home in Longford was discovered to have breached condition 5 of its registration when Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) officials carried out an unannounced inspection in June.

Inspectors identified the nursing home, which caters for 114 residents, had carried out a "number of structural changes" to the facility without any application being made to vary its registration conditions to the office of chief inspector.

These included changes being made to re-purposed rooms and newly constructed rooms that were in use prior to being inspected and registered, Hiqa inspectors found.

Management were called to a "cautionary meeting" nine days later in which assurances were given in addressing its regulatory non compliance.

The authority also uncovered inadequate fire safety precautions and infection control, highlighting "the inappropriate storage of linen and other items in the sluice rooms".

The facility was also deemed to be non compliant in terms of fire precaution regulations.

On the day of inspection, inspectors observed fire doors being wedged open with chairs which prevented their closure when a fire alarm activated.

"This compromised the purpose and function of the fire door in protecting residents, visitors and staff in the event of a fire," the report found.

The report, did, nonetheless contain a number of positive elements, most notably the availability and choice of food and snacks with staff being singled out for working especially diligently.

“Residents in Laurel Lodge Nursing Home told inspectors that they were well looked after, received a good standard of care and felt safe,” the report detailed.

In a statement, management pointed to ongoing difficulties the facility had experienced recruiting new staff during the pandemic, having lost a number of personnel to the HSE and retirement.

"We have been extremely active advertising locally, with little success and hence have had to recruit additional staff from countries such as Portugal, India, the Philippines and Romania," read a statement.

"While this remains an on-going challenge and we continue to seek to recruit as many staff as possible from the locality we have now filled the majority of our vacant positions."

The facility said its non compliance with its conditions of registration was due to an unintentional error in its attempts to carry out further expansion in its attempts to provide the best possible care to residents throughout the pandemic.

"As part of our focus to protect our residents through the pandemic we have invested significantly to enhance our facilities by, for example, creating eight additional en-suite bathrooms to existing bedrooms as well as a larger ‘snooze room’ area which will ensure social distancing between residents.

"At the time of our inspection we had inadvertently submitted the incorrect documentation to HIQA regarding these enhancements," said management, adding the error had been corrected "immediately" as soon as it was highlighted by inspectors.

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