A Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report into an unannounced assessment at Sligo Regional Hospital has exposed a litany of hygiene issues from unclean resuscitation trolleys to failures of staff members to observe proper hand hygiene practices.
The assessment was carried out at the hospital on February 28 this year and included checks on the Emergency Department; Surgical Gynaecology Ward and the Medical South Ward.
The 16 page report said there were a number of risks identified by HIQA staff including three patients with transmissible infection being cared for in a room were doors were open, near other patients; failures in the disposal of contaminated personal protective equipment and overflowing bins for health care risk waste.
The report also revealed that cleaning equipment weren’t effectively stored or decontaminated in the Surgical Gynaecology ward with mop buckets in an “unclean state”.
Hand hygiene of staff in all three sections was a major source of concern and hand hygiene training was not up to date for many of the staff members. Observation of 39 hand hygiene opportunities by staff found that only 11 complied with best practice techniques.
Overall the Authority found the environment and equipment in all assessed areas “were generally unclean, placing patients at significant risk of Health Care Acquired Infections (HCAI)” such as MRSA.
Bed frames in the Medical South ward and the undercarriage of trolleys in the Emergency Department were covered in a light dust and grime and grit was observed along the edges and in corners of the flooring in both departments.
Floor covering in the Emergency Department clinical areas was “visibly unclean, cracked and peeling” while electrical fixtures in Medical South “were visibly unclean” and, in some cases, sticky.
The Authority also found that IV stand bases, IV pumps, cardiac monitors, dressing trolleys and the resuscitation trolley in the Emergency Department “were unclean and dusty”.
Sticky residue and staining was also found on IV stands and dressing trolleys on Medical South ward.
Assessors also found “dusty, stained and unclean bedpans” in the Emergency Department. Even more worrying was the fact that the flooring in the minor theatre area and room had spots of “visible grit and grime” and “boxes and hazardous sharps bins” were stored on the floor.
A mould-like substance was also found between the a sinks and a splash back in a utility room on the Surgical Gynaecology ward.
There were some words of praise in the report but they were overwhelmed by the number of problems identified.
The hospital has said it has taken immediate steps to address the findings in the report and is in the process of implementing an action plan.
General Manager Grainne McCann said: “We are committed to improving patient safety and the environment for patients and the report identified evidence of good practice on the wards and facilities management.”