Owen Mor Nursing home: Regulator takes further action

Picture of nursing home in Culmore Derry Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The home provides full-time and respite care for those with learning difficulties, mental disorders and dementia

A care home in Londonderry is to remain closed to new admissions after fresh action was taken by the health regulator.

Owen Mor nursing home was stopped from accepting new residents earlier this year.

The 81-place facility provides homes for people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and dementia.

The latest move came after a follow-up inspection by regulators on Friday.

They found that concerns about health standards raised in May had not been addressed.

Residents and families have been informed of the latest move.

The Regulation Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) said it will "continue to monitor this service closely to secure the necessary improvements".

In a statement to BBC News NI, the home's owners said the decision was made on Friday after a follow-up inspection by the RQIA.

The RQIA said it had particular concerns about "staff knowledge, competency and understanding of safe practice in the management of medicines".

It added: "We also found evidence of a lack of availability and missed doses of medicines.

"These presented a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people, including patients living with dementia, who may be unable to express their needs."

The RQIA said it had been successful in "obtaining an urgent order to place conditions on Owen Mor Care Centre with immediate effect".

These include:

  • closing the home to further admissions;
  • assessing competency and capabilities of registered nurses in the safe administration of medicines;
  • strengthening of management.

Speaking on behalf of the owners, Dr Brendan McDonald said they were working with an independent consultant to put in place a plan to address concerns.

"While many of the compliance issues and shortcomings identified in the previous inspection have been successfully addressed, we are deeply disappointed that it was not been possible to comply with all standards within the period assigned," he added.

Dr McDonald said they would be seeking the agreement of regulators and the support of the Western Trust for new arrangements.

"We will be working to fully implement the changes needed so that all compliance requirements are met."

Respite placements

The Western Trust said that it had been working closely with the RQIA and the care centre to address concerns.

A spokesperson said the decision to stop further admissions to Owen Mor would affected planned respite placements to the centre.

"The trust will be working directly with short break residents and their families to try and secure alternative support arrangements," a spokesperson said.

"The trust will continue to remain in regular contact with the management of Owen Mor care centre to support their ability to achieve the standards of care expected for all residents."

'Fallen short'

In May, the BBC reported that the regulator had issued failure to comply notices on the home.

The notices mentioned concerns about staff knowledge, including nurses not following policies and procedures, as well as inadequate records about areas of patient safety such as falls, feeding and nutrition.

The owners of the home have apologised "to our residents and their families" about the developments.

"At Owen Mor our priority is not only to meet but to exceed the standards required of nursing homes," their statement read.

"We apologise to our residents and their families that, on this occasion, we have fallen short of these.

"We are confident that our management initiative will deliver the changes needed to ensure that we are providing the standard of care and comfort which has been the hallmark of our long service."

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