20 May 2022

Kilkenny Mental Health Centre scores 100% compliance in 2020 inspection

Efforts to shield patients from Covid-19 clear - report by Mental Health Commission


The inspection report for 2020

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has published inspection reports on three of the country’s 66 approved inpatient mental health centres, including at St Canice's Hospital in Kilkenny.

All inspections were announced due to Covid-19 and each centre scored highly on overall compliance with rules, regulations, and codes of practice. Aside from the high compliance, the reports also noted the efforts made by management and staff to protect their residents from Covid-19, including reconfiguring one building into separate zones to better safeguard especially frail and vulnerable residents.

St Gabriel’s Ward is a 20-bed facility located on the grounds of St Canice’s Hospital in Kilkenny. The ward was reconfigured into ‘Zone A’ and ‘Zone B’ to support a cohorting of the frail and vulnerable residents together in one area in line with Covid-19. One area of the ward was used as an isolation unit if necessary.

The centre achieved 100% compliance on its 2020 inspection, with no non-compliances recorded in 31 different areas of inspection. The overall compliance was a 12% increase on the 2019 inspection, and -significantly - a 42% increase on the 2018 inspection, which saw 58% compliance. There were no conditions attached to the registration of the centre at the time of inspection.

The report noted that the centre had an attractive garden area, which was purpose-built for the resident profile. Residents were observed to use the garden space under the supervision of nursing staff during inspection. Overall, the unit was bright, clean, and free from any malodorous odours with a calm and caring ethos noted.

The report also noted that hazards - including large open spaces, steps and stairs, slippery floors, trip hazards, hard and sharp edges, and hard or rough surfaces - were all minimised in the centre. There was a minimisation of ligature points to the lowest practicable level, based on risk assessment. Each resident had a multi-disciplinary care plan which was developed and reviewed in collaboration with the resident.

“It is important to recognise the work that providers put in since March of last year to protect the people they care for, and we have noted some of these instances in the inspection reports that we have published today,” said the Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty.

“In the case of these centres, this included the introduction of protocols such as visitor restrictions, cleaning regimes, the reconfiguring one building to better shield frail and elderly residents, and the allocation of one area of a ward for the purposes of isolation. While we were confident that these types of safety measures were taking place in centres from ongoing conversations that we were having with centres through our Covid-19 monitoring hub, it was reassuring to verify them at inspection.”

The Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly, said that the reports clearly demonstrate that mental health services worked swiftly with the MHC to keep as many residents and patients safe from contracting the virus.

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