Inspection find high risk breaches at Merlin Park juvenile mental health unit

Galway Daily news Plans submitted for community nursing unit at Merlin Park Hospital

The Merlin Park Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Unit was found to have three areas of high risk non-compliance with regulations in a newly released inspection report.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Unit at Merlin Park Hospital contains two residences; The Willows, a 14 bed unit, and Woodsend, a 6 bed unit.

An unannounced inspection of the unit was carried out by the Mental Health Commission over March 26 – 29 of this year.

At the time of this inspection there were ten residents at the Merlin Park CAMHS unit.

The inspection report found that the Mental Health centre had three high risk compliances in the areas of premises, staffing and the use of seclusion.

Food Safety standards, which had previously been found to be compliant in inspections last year and in 2017, were found non-compliant during this inspection.

The report noted that the main kitchen did not have dry storage facilities and food was stored uncovered in open areas.

“Catering areas and associated catering and food safety equipment were not appropriately cleaned.”

In terms of hygiene it was found that the centre was not “clean, hygienic, and free from offensive odours”.

The breakfast room in Woodsend was found to have offensive odours and the kitchen remained unclean despite the best efforts of staff.

The seclusion room at the mental health unit is in a separate building, meaning residents must go outside to access it “compromising their privacy and dignity”.

The inspectors also said that the room was unfurnished, uncomfortable warm, and covered in graffiti.

“Staff informed the inspection team that it was not possible to adjust the heating, as maintenance had to be
contacted to do this.”

“Once the maintenance team was contacted and the temperature changed, it could take one to two days for the temperature to adjust.”

The final high-risk factor at the Merlin Park CAMHS unit was in the area of staffing the inspectors found.

While there was a sufficient number of staff, the report noted that “Not all staff had up-to-date mandatory training in the following: fire safety; Basic Life Support; the Management of Violence and Aggression, the Mental Health Act 2001; and Children First”.

However the mental health unit was also found to excellent compliance with regulations in 14 areas.

Identification of Residents, Food and Nurtrition, Clothing, Personal Property and Possessions, Recreational Activities, Religion, Visits, Therapeutic Services, Children’s Education, Provision of Information to Residents, Privacy, Management of Medicine, Usage of CCTV, and Operating Policies and Procedures.

The Merlin Park Centre was requested to provide Corrective and Preventative Actions for the areas where it was found non compliant.

While the number of non-compliances was up one from last year, it was down significantly from 2017 where the CAMHS unit was non-compliant in 12 areas that were either high or moderate risk.