A nursing home employee was seen smoking next to a number of “large oxygen cylinders” during a visit by a safety inspector.
A report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found that fire safety at the Limerick nursing home was “not compliant” with the required standard.
The unannounced inspection took place in April 2021, and found a number of flaws with fire safety and Covid-19 regulations.
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“Most significantly a staff member was seen to smoke a cigarette in the vicinity of a number of large oxygen cylinders in an external storage bay,” the report states.
“This indicated that the staff member was not aware of the combustible nature of oxygen which had the potential to explode if gas escaped from any of the cylinders and came in contact with the light cigarette or lighter.
“This was addressed by the management team on the day of inspection.”
The report also found that fire extinguishers had been labelled at last serviced in 2019, despite a legal requirement for them to be serviced annually.
In addition, the inspector found that access to a number of fire extinguishers was blocked with items of furniture “throughout the two days of inspection”.
“The majority of staff had undertaken mandatory and appropriate training such as safeguarding training, fire safety and manual handling,” the report said.
Additional training had been scheduled where any modules were delayed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at the facility.
The inspector also found that Covid-19 protocols had not been properly followed at the home.
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Staff members had not been following temperature checking and signing in guidelines at the centre.
The report said: “On the day of inspection three staff coming on duty at each change of shift had not checked their temperature as required.
“This included one staff present in the centre who was not included on the roster as due to work that day: the incorrect roster was an additional risk to infection control processes which had not been identified until the inspector alerted the person in charge to the issue.”
The report said “increased supervision and management oversight was required” in fire safety and in maintaining infection control processes.
Other reports detailed the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks in homes across the country.
At a facility in Donegal, six people had died in early 2021 following an outbreak in which 35 residents and 11 staff contracted the virus.
One resident who had caught Covid-19 told inspectors that they had been “very frightened”, the report said.
Elsewhere, HIQA inspectors flagged failings at a home in Co Mayo.
In one instance, inspectors found that a care plan for a resident with complex, psycho-social needs had used “discriminatory” language.
The report for the care home also noted that “staffing levels were not in line with the centre’s statement of purpose”.
“Although the provider was in the process of recruiting nursing staff, the level of nursing staff available to cover all shifts was compromised,” the report noted.
“A decision had been made to reduce the night time level of nursing staff from two to one. This decision had not been risk assessed.”
Non-compliance in 35 centres
The report was one of a 61 published by HIQA on Monday, which found high levels of compliance in 26 nursing homes, and evidence of non-compliance in 35 centres.
A HIQA spokesperson said: “Of the 61 reports published, inspectors found evidence of good practice and compliance with the regulations and standards on 26 of the inspections.
“In general, these centres were found to be meeting residents’ needs and delivering care in line with the national standards and regulations.
“Inspectors found evidence of non-compliance on 35 inspections.
“Of these inspections, non-compliances were identified in areas including governance and management, infection control, premises, protection, fire precautions, residents’ rights, healthcare and risk management.”