Inspectors criticize "appalling" conditions at psychiatric unit

November 24, 2012

PATIENTS in one ward in a psychiatric hospital were left in an "appalling" situation, without any therapy or stimulation, inspectors have found.

Residents in St Senan's Hospital, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, were suffering from "severe institutionalised" and problem behaviour more than likely contributed to by lack of stimulation and therapies.

The findings, in a report by inspectors from the Mental Health Commission, found the residents in St Christopher's ward had no input from psychology, social work or occupational therapy.

"The only input was from medical and nursing staff, apart from one art session a week from a recreational therapist," the report said.

"Staff were not trained in intellectual disability and mental illness and were not in a position to provide appropriate therapies for the residents."

The hospital is due to close next March, and residents are to be moved to purpose-built accommodation.

A separate report on the unit in Waterford Regional Hospital found there had been significant slippage in the provision of individual care plans since the previous inspection.

It continued to provide a high standard of care in electric shock treatment, but mental health teams were under-resourced and this impacted on the scope of care provided.

Another report, into Teach Aisling, a 10-bed approved centre for people with severe and enduring mental illness in Co Mayo, found the physical care of residents was below standard.

The door to the hospital was routinely locked, and although a number of voluntary residents were free to leave they could not do so unless accompanied, and that was dependent on the availability of staff.

The inspectors criticised the physical state of the bedsits and said they needed to be urgently refurbished.

One resident asked that the main communal sitting area be painted with some colour and that flowers be planted in the garden.

The inspectors said it was a "pity to see the enclosed garden space untended, with weeds and cigarette butts, and the side herb garden overgrown with weeds".

Source: Eilish O'Regan, "Inspectors criticise 'appalling' psychiatric unit," Irish Independent, November 23, 2012.


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