Healthcare news

Dunmurry Manor care home under spotlight again over staffing shortages

Staffing issues have been highlighted at Dunmurry Manor home on the outskirts of Belfast
Seanín Graham

STAFF at a care home that was at the centre of a damning report have expressed "frustration" they still do not have enough cover to meet patient need.

Dunmurry Manor Home workers made the admission during a health watchdog inspection in January, saying they "give their best but there is never enough time".

Nine relatives of residents also expressed concern to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) team about the impact of short staffing on their loved ones' care in the Belfast facility.

The latest inspection report comes nine months after an independent probe discovered a "horrific catalogue of inhuman and degrading treatment" of elderly dementia patients at the 76-bedded home, with some being starved, denied medication and in some cases sexually assaulted by other residents.

The Commissioner for Older People's investigation rocked the health sector and led to a public apology by the permanent secretary at the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly.

The independent probe was also highly critical of the RQIA, claiming the regulator found the facility "to be meeting the required standards of care" when "terrible incidents" were occurring.

While the latest RQIA inspection report commends many "good practices" at Dunmurry Manor, including staff training, adult safeguarding and the general environment, concerns about staff shortages as well registration of care workers are singled out.

Cleanliness of kitchenettes and decontamination of hoists are also identified as "areas for improvement".

The watchdog inspection report states: "Consultation with six staff confirmed that they were not satisfied that the staffing levels in the home met the assessed needs of patients. Staff stated that they felt 'frustrated'...

"In addition, two staff responding on an online survey were of the opinion that the staffing levels were too low... questionnaires (by some relatives) confirmed that they did not feel there was enough staff on duty to provide care to the patients."

Concerns about the hydration, nutrition and continence needs of some vulnerable residents were also raised by family members, while others were complementary about care standards.

The RQIA noted that following the inspection, the facility's owner, Runwood Care Homes, had given assurances to increase staffing levels.

"RQIA will continue to monitor staffing arrangements in the home at subsequent care inspections," the report concluded.

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