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Connacht Tribune

HSE nursing home criticised again over standards

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A nursing home run by the Health Service Executive (HSE) has once again failed to comply with regulations that ensure premises are safe and suitable.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has highlighted problems at Merlin Park Community Nursing Unit following an inspection of the facility.

“The current design and layout is institutional and impacts negatively on the residents’ privacy and dignity,” the latest HIQA report states.

Despite repeatedly highlighting this issue, the HSE’s timeframe to address the concerns is set out as December 2020, and “plans to provide a new centre were not available” to HIQA.

The inspection found that the building was non-compliant with regulatory requirements due to the configuration of bedrooms in multi-occupancy rooms. The toilet facilities also compromised the privacy of residents. This was similar to previous inspections.

The inspection took place in April and the report has just been released. The centre is registered to accommodate 52 residents and there were 45 on the day of inspection.

The majority of residents in the centre were assessed as having either maximum or high dependency needs.

“On the previous inspection the premises was found to resemble a clinical/hospital setting rather than that of a long term residential centre. A total of 10 bedrooms were multi-occupancy rooms accommodating four residents which impacted on the residents’ privacy and affected the time they got to sleep and were awoken at as any noise from other residents affected all residents in the multi-occupancy rooms.

“Residents had privacy screens around their beds during person care but the inspector observed that residents resting in their beds could be viewed from the hallway by other residents or visitors to the centre. Separate bathroom facilities were provided on each unit. Some toilet facilities provided were in shared cubicles which were partitioned by a light wooden structure which did not afford privacy. The inspector was informed that these were for use by visitors however this was not clearly indicated on the signage,” the report said.

The HSE said efforts had been made to make the units homelier for residents – bedrooms had been repainted and new curtains provided between beds since the last inspection.

Two bedrooms which were not open at the time of the last inspection due to a water leak had been brought back into service.

The report added: “The walls and skirting board on the corridors in both units were however still chipped and damaged and required repainting. The inspector found that other than painting a hall table at the entrance to unit five, there was little evidence of any work to make the reception area more homely.”

At the previous inspection the HSE said the centre was to be allocated a new building. During the latest inspection, the inspector was told the design brief was being worked on by the HSE estates department, “but no plans were available at the time of this inspection”.

During the last inspection, it was identified that there was no mechanically operated extract ventilation to remove smoke from the room designated for smoking. This action was not addressed, either, although the HSE was still within the agreed time frame to rectify this.

Apart from not meeting compliance on regulations, the unit was mostly compliant.

In total, eleven of the actions from the last inspection were addressed. A further three were partially addressed. It was not possible to review two actions as documentation was not available and three actions were not addressed, the report added.

Connacht Tribune

Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team

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Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.

The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.

Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.

“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.

It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.

“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”

She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.

“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.

There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.

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Connacht Tribune

Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78

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Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.

Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968

As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.

From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.

Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.

Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man

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Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.

Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.

He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250,  the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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