28 May 2022

Covid outbreak at Longford care home was not ‘effectively managed’, Hiqa finds

Covid outbreak at Longford care home was not ‘effectively managed’, Hiqa finds

The health watchdog has found a Covid-19 outbreak at a Longford based nursing home was not “being effectively managed” days after it was forced to go into full lockdown.

In a report released by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) on Monday, inspectors said they carried out an unannounced inspection on September 7, 2021 after more than a dozen residents and staff tested positive for Covid-19.

It uncovered shortcomings in seven of the 12 regulations which were evaluated by Hiqa officials on the day of the inspection.

They included non compliance in staffing, fire precautions, governance and management and most notably infection control.

“Inspectors observed inconsistent application of transmission-based precautions within a unit experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19 infection,” stated the report.

“As a result, efforts to prevent and control ongoing Covid-19 transmission were severely restricted.”

In a hard hitting overview of the facility’s response towards keeping a lid on the continued spread of the virus, inspectors were informed of staff crossover between Covid-19 positive and non-Covid areas.

Inspectors observed personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, being used inappropriately by staff with gloves not being changed on exiting rooms accommodating residents with confirmed Covid-19.

In one instance, inspectors observed a staff member applying gel to their gloves while another employee was discovered not wearing their PPE mask appropriately.

A staff member was also observed having lunch in a room with five residents that had tested positive for Covid-19.

In an assessment of the centre’s food and nutrition regulations, Hiqa found residents who had contracted Covid-19 were not protected from risk of dehydration and malnutrition owing to a lack of oversight and staff numbers in assisting residents with drinking fluids and eating meals.

An inspector noted how one resident asked where 'all the staff had gone' after their meal was left in front of them for an hour and was removed untouched.

Despite being found non compliant in over half of its regulatory areas, the nursing home was deemed “substantially compliant” in the areas of individual assessment and care planning, complaints procedure, health care and visitations with the centre reported ‘compliant’ in the area of residents’ rights.

In addressing concerns linked to the management of infection control, management said it had put in place “ immediate steps” to issues surrounding staff supervision while an “extensive programme of maintenance” was also put in place to answer doubts over its physical environment.

In a statement, management said the inspection report and its findings came at a time when over 20 of its staff had contracted Covid-19 within a 48 hour period.

It said while it remained committed to resolving issues contained in the report, its findings were not in keeping with the level of dedication and compassion shown towards residents on an everyday basis.

“The HIQA inspection took place at the height of our outbreak and does not reflect the high standard of care we strive to achieve and deliver on a day- to- day basis at Laurel Lodge Nursing Home,” read a statement.

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