The HSE is to move up to 18 patients from a ward in St Brigid’s psychiatric hospital in Ballinasloe after it was deemed unsuitable for use as an acute admissions ward by an inspector for the Mental Health Commission.
In a report released this week, on foot of an unannounced inspection carried out in August of this year, the hospital was found to have only had minimal compliance with the Mental Health Act 2001 (Approved Centres) Regulations 2006 with regard to conditions on St Dympna’s Ward.
The inspector’s report found that effort had been made to achieve compliance with the regulations but significant improvement was still needed to the hospital’s premises.
According to the report, St Dympna’s Ward was “grim and dated looking and not in good decorative order”, when it was inspected on 21 August 2012.
Inspectors found parts of the ward to be too warm, with poor ventilation, particularly in the seclusion room and in a number of bedrooms.
A number of ligature points – features that could be used to support a noose – that had been pointed out by inspectors during the 2011 inspection remained in situ and the door leading to one was found to be unlocked and unsupervised.
“The environment, in its current state, was not suitable as an acute admissions ward. The toilet, shower and bathroom facilities were not suitable; windowsills and toilet doors did not appear to have been cleaned and were grubby,” read the report.
The report also found that individual clinical files were not maintained to the standard required by the regulations and that one resident did not have an individual care plan as defined in the regulations.
The facilities for seclusion in the hospital were found to be “very poor”, according to the report. The seclusion room was located in the main corridor and any resident kept in seclusion could be observed by any passer-by, including fellow residents and visitors through the clear glass window in the seclusion room door.
Inspectors insisted that the window be covered up and the situation was immediately remedied, the report said.
Responding to the findings, HSE West said that it is “fully committed to meeting patient needs in the context of the requirements of the Mental Health Commission”.
HSE West said plans for the refurbishment of St Dympna’s Ward in St Brigid’s Hospital were included in its Capital Plan last year. These works will take place between January and May 2013. During this period, the patients will be moved to alternative accommodation temporarily.
It said the hospital’s seclusion facilities would be upgraded as part of the refurbishment of St Dympna’s Ward.
In relation to care planning, HSE West said all patient care plans have been reviewed and has confirmed that every patient at St Brigid’s now has a completed care plan.
HSE West also confirmed that the issue of record keeping, maintenance and storage of clinical files is currently under review in order to meet the required standard.