Inspection highlights privacy concerns at UHG adult Mental Health Unit

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The overall level of compliance with regulations at the Acute Adult Mental Health Unit at UHG dropped in the latest inspectors’ report.

The Mental Health Commission gave the AAMH unit at University Hospital Galway a 94% compliance rate for 2021 in the most recent report, down more than 10% on the previous year.

The report noted one high risk area of non-compliance, as well as multiple moderate risk concerns.

The highest risk concern raised in the inspection related to risk management, with not all health and safety risks being monitored and documented.

It singled out a lack of documentation or monitoring on the potential risk that can from removing bathroom en suite doors.

This was also singled out as a moderate area of non-compliance for negatively affecting patients privacy and dignity, as single bedrooms do not have locks on the inside.

Dr Susan Finnerty, Inspector of Mental Health Services, said, “It is concerning to see that doors to en suite bathrooms in the Adult Acute Mental Health Unit in Galway were removed without due regard to residents’ privacy and dignity.”

“While the reasons for the removal may be to mitigate a risk, this was not balanced with residents’ right to privacy and dignity.”

The centre had a multi-disciplinary team which included the disciplines of psychiatry, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, social work, dietetics, and pharmacy.

However, a psychology post has been vacant since March 2021, and there was no date for a replacement.

At the time of inspection, the arrangement was that the community treating team’s psychologist attended to the needs of the centre’s residents.

The other moderate risks found related to transfer of residents, register of residents and the code of practice on admission, transfer and discharge to and from the centre.

The Adult Acute Mental Health Unit at University Hospital Galway is located on the grounds of the hospital site.

The centre is registered for 50 beds and consists of four separate suites: Hazel, Ash, Holly, and Oak.

The latest inspection by the Mental Health Commission was carried out over November 16-19 last year.

The 83% compliance rate found in the latest inspection was down from the 94% rating it received the previous year, but still an improvement on 2019 & 2018.

One ‘Immediate Action Notice’ regarding individual care plans issued after the 2020 inspection was found to have been addressed in the latest report.

Numerous quality initiatives were also highlighted by the Mental Health Commission report, such as model with the aim of reducing conflict, improving safety, and enhancing nurse-resident relationships.

Multi-disciplinary staff from the centre were trained in ‘Decider Skills’ to enhance their therapeutic skill set.

‘Decider Skills’ uses cognitive behaviour therapy to enhance how young people and adults monitor and manage their emotions and mental health.