An overflowing sanitary waste disposal bin, dirty emergency department dressing trolleys and a “generally unclean” emergency department greeted HIQA inspectors who visited Tullamore hospital last May, it has emerged.
A Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published on Wednesday highlighted a number of issues raised by officials who made an unannounced visit to the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore in May.
The hospital, along with hospitals in Mullingar and Portiuncula, is the main medical centre for people from the Westmeath Independent region.
Inspectors found a patient with a suspected transmissible infection being cared for in a room with no handwashing facilities and found hand hygiene practice lacking, reporting that 19 out of 25 hand hygiene opportunities were taken during the visit. As a result, the report stated that a culture of hand hygiene practice at the hospital is “not embedded at all levels” and posed a minor risk of the spread of healthcare associated infections.
The visit was carried out between noon and 4.30pm on May 20 and found that unclean equipment and an unclean environment in the hospital’s emergency department put patients at a moderate risk of healthcare associated infections.
While the hospital’s orthopaedic (trauma) ward was deemed “generally clean” by inspectors, the emergency department was deemed “generally unclean”.
The report, which is available to view on www.hiqa.ie, includes details of an overflowing sanitary waste disposal bin in an emergency department toilet and unclean emergency department dressing trolleys.
Inspectors also found a patient with a suspected transmissible infection being cared for in a room without handwashing facilities and the door of that room being open directly to where other patients were being cared for, linen not secured prior to disposal to minimise the risk of cross contamination during the collection and laundering process and a heavily soiled dustpan in the clinical area of the emergency department.
Good practice noted included clean, intact and dust, rust and grit free bed frames, pillows, mattresses, wall surfaces, high and low surfaces, curtain rails and radiators in the patient areas of the orthopaedic ward; clean and intact showers and accessories used by patients in both the emergency department and orthopaedic ward and clean IV pumps, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen equipment and suction apparatus. The hospital was also praised for tagging its clinical and non-clinical waste with unique identification numbers at source to facilitate tracking if needed.
The report published this week is part of HIQA’s monitoring programme for the national standards for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections.
It revealed evidence of practice that is not compliant with national standards for the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections at the Tullamore hospital.
he hospital has now been asked to develop a quality improvement plan, which must be published on the HSE website within six weeks. HIQA will also monitor the hospital and will undertake a follow-up assessment within the next six months.
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