The Journal reported a story that shows how important staffing is at long term care facilities. Residents in a nursing home suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their caregivers and were refused showers and left short of food, according to claims in released documents. In a complaint to the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), a resident in a nursing home said that they had suffered “emotional and physical bullying”. In total, 161 complaints are listed in the documents.
The complainant said that residents at the home were refused water due to the risk of them getting wet; that they were left short of food because the staff ate it; and that the staff were negligent and inattentive.
They cover a broad range of issues people have with elderly services, ranging from complaints to do with understaffing and cleanliness, to more serious allegations of abuse, lack of care and violence.
In one case, a person argues that someone related to them isn’t properly cared for by staff at a nursing home.
The person states that they have found their relative sitting in wet underwear on several occasions and that “no dignity or respect is shown” to them.
The person alleges that staff “no longer encourages SU to get out of bed” and that the person is “left sitting in wet underwear”.
In another instance, a complainant noticed a bad smell in their relative’s bedroom at a nursing home and discovered soiled bed linen was left in a bag beside the resident’s bed.
Another complaint has to do with a resident “starving to death” while multiple complaints relate to elderly residents becoming dehydrated due to a lack of water.
One heavily redacted complaint alleges sexual assault by members of staff at a nursing home. Who is assaulted or what took place is not clear.
Another person said that the lack of care from staff at a nursing home had increased the health problems of an elderly perosn who later died. The person said that they had been told by nursing home staff that previously the residents was “falling deliberately”.
While some of these complaints point to alleged cases of extreme abuse – the most common concerns lodged are to do with nursing homes being understaffed. Complainants say that staff are overstretched and in some cases under-trained.
“Risk of falls increase due to to lack of sufficient staff to supervise communal rooms,” reads another.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said:
“It is very distressing to read reports of some of our most vulnerable citizens being neglected and even abused in our nursing homes. These are places that older people should feel safe and secure in the later years of their lives. It is especially worrying to hear of these reports now, considering the recent convictions for abuse of vulnerable people in care homes. We must reflect on what this says about us as a society that this is allowed to continue and there is not a national outrage.”