Owen Mor nursing home on the Culmore Road
The under fire Owen Mor nursing home has reopened to new admissions following a string of unsatisfactory inspections dating back to May, the Derry News has learned.
The privately owned care home based on the Culmore Road cares for around 80 people with dementia and learning disabilities.
It has remained under enforcement after the health regulator, RQIA, took court action in August.
An investigation in May found that nurses were not following procedures, patients were missing medicines and there was inadequate record keeping.
RQIA obtained a court order in August to block new admissions after it emerged the Western Trust was still referring patients to the home.
During this time a respite unit for adults with learning disabilities, also based at Owen Mor, has been closed because it is registered as a single nursing home. This has adversely affected both those users and their families.
In a statement to the Derry News over the weekend, an RQIA spokesperson said: “Earlier this week RQIA conducted a detailed multidisciplinary inspection at Owen Mor Care Centre in Derry.
“During the inspection we were satisfied with the progress by the management of the home to address the concerns we had highlighted through our enforcement action. We are pleased to report that the service has achieved compliance with regulations.
“To support ongoing compliance, we have received an assurance from the provider that it will resume new admissions on a phased basis.
“The safety and wellbeing of every patient at Omen Mor is of utmost importance to RQIA, and we will continue to monitor this service through our ongoing regulatory and inspection activities.“
Aidan Hanna of patient advocacy group NI Patient Voice said he is not surprised the home has reopened to admissions given the “significant investment” in it by the Western Trust which has placed “at least 25 members of staff” in there.
Mr Hanna did however add that he has “zero confidence” in the home going forward.
Along with families, he is calling for a complete review of the care provided at Owen Mor since it opened. In his view the home is in a “perfect location” to be taken over by the Western Trust.
Serious concerns were identified regarding the management and administration of patients’ medicines during an inspection on May 2 of this year.
The report stated: “As a result, an unannounced care inspection was undertaken three days later. At the care inspection serious concerns were identified in relation to the quality of management and governance arrangements in the home; health and welfare of patients, in particular the record keeping; and the competency and capability of registered nursing staff.
“These deficits had the potential to impact on the quality of care delivered in the home.”
A meeting was held with the Western Trust when assurances were given and an action plan drawn up for Trust staff to “drive the necessary improvement” in the home.
Another unannounced inspection took place on August 15 when “some improvement and progress” was noted but it still failed to comply with expected standards.
Four new areas for improvement were also identified in relation to fire safety measures and practices, staff skill mix, medicine records and medicine storage. Four Failure to Comply (FTC) Notices from the previous inspection were therefore carried over and a compliance date set for August 15.
Two care and two pharmacist inspectors made an unannounced visit on August 15 and 18 during which it was deemed there was continued risk and potential impact on the health and welfare of a number of patients.
RQIA senior management held a meeting the following day, they were concerned that limited and insufficient progress had been made over the three month period since the notices had been issued and as a result decided to implement RQIA’s Urgent Procedures.
This resulted in an Order being issued by a Lay Magistrate to owners, East Eden Ltd, to impose conditions on the registration of Owen Mor Care Centre.
Amongst other conditions, it was decided that no further admissions were to be made to the nursing home with immediate effect.
Further inspections took place in September and again on October 24, when evidence was available to indicate that East Eden Ltd had made significant progress in implementing robust systems in the management and governance of patient care.
However, whilst RQIA acknowledged progress made, it could not validate compliance with all of the conditions which were imposed by the court.
A final inspection last week finally met RQIA standards and the home has reopened to new admissions.
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