I read about a tragic incident in Ireland recently that reminded me of what goes on in some nursing homes everyday. A nursing home resident was left strapped to a chair throughout their waking hours – and released only for toilet breaks. The claim is among more than 400 complaints about care of the elderly in nursing homes logged by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) last year.
The unsolicited complaints were made to the HIQA by phone or in writing in the first 10 months of 2019. They paint a picture of shocking neglect and abuse of elderly residents. There were numerous claims of residents falling owing to poor staffing or lack of appropriate care.
In other reports released under the Freedom of Information Act, complainants described residents being diagnosed with malnutrition, sitting in soiled clothes and being held against their will.
One disturbing complaint related to a resident who had suffered a fracture several years ago. “The resident is strapped into a chair throughout the day and is only released for toileting. The [concerned person] has also witnessed another resident strapped in the same manner without release.”
In one heart-rending complaint, a concerned person states they are being held in a nursing home “against their will”. “Concerned person wants to leave but does not know how to,” said the complainant, who appeared to be the nursing home resident.
In another nursing home, it was claimed residents had to “wait in a queue to be brought to the bathroom”.