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HIQA report highlights need for greater vigilance by nursing homes to protect vulnerable residents

Published 06/05/2014


Age Action is concerned that a HIQA report published today shows that  HIQA received 4,246 notifications of serious injury to nursing home residents during 2013.  In addition there were 373 notifications of alleged, suspected or confirmed abuse.

The figures are contained in HIQA’s overview of its nursing home inspection service for 2013, published today.

“The report not only highlights the great need which exists for an independent inspection authority, but also the need for nursing home management across Ireland to improve their service when it comes to issues of health and safety and risk management,” Age Action spokesperson Eamon Timmins said. “This must involve training and supervision of staff and strict adherence to the required procedures and protocols.”

The report shows that 21% of the 8,697 actions which HIQA required nursing homes to take in order to compliance with the regulations in 2013, related to specifically to risk management and health and safety.  The authority carried out 814 inspection visits in 2013 to 565 residential centres for older people.

Other areas of concern highlighted in the report:

 HIQA identified problems at 134 centres regarding the contracts between the home and the residents, with contracts lacking full details of services and fees. HIQA highlighted 165 actions needed to bring homes into compliance. The contract is central to the relationship between providers and consumers. The report stated: “Nearly three-quarters of actions under this outcome were required because the full details of the services to be provided, and the fees to be charged, were not set out in the residents’ contracts. Omissions mainly arose where services or items not included in the weekly fee were not fully detailed.”

 Safe care and support: 303 actions were required in 174 centres to make homes comply with regulations regarding the safety of their residents. Sixty per cent of actions required the provider to put in place measures, including staff training, to prevent residents being harmed, suffering abuse, or being placed at risk of harm or abuse. Providers were also required to address weaknesses identified in procedures for the receipt, management and recording of residents’ finance and possessions.

 A large number of actions (1,376) related to residents’ health and social care  needs including basics like having a care plan that the person can participate in, and formal review of the plan. Twenty one per cent of actions under this outcome required the provider to provide residents with a high standard of evidence-based nursing practice. Areas commonly identified as requiring such practice were falls management, use of restraint, wound care, and management of residents with epilepsy.  Some 7% required the nursing home to facilitating access for residents to services such as physiotherapy, chiropody and occupational therapy.

Age Action welcomes evidence in the report that people with concerns were also raising them directly with HIQA.  Of the 355 unsolicited items of information provided to the authority last year, 59% came from relatives of residents and 14% from nursing home staff.



Call for Voices of Older People to be Heard

Age Action welcomes relaxation of some cocooning measures but criticises lack of consultation with older people.



(1 May) Age Action called for the Government to consult with older people as it plans for the longer-term impacts of Covid-19. To date, public health and Government advice has treated the over 70 age cohort as one. As a single age cohort people over the age of 70 have been subject to public health measures but not enabled to participate in the decision-making process that would ensure that their lived experience and their self-identified needs informs the outcome.