An investigation by the Irish Independent has revealed that the Health Service Executive (HSE) has documents that confirm the abuse of elders in Ireland's nursing homes.
Instances where the elderly inmates were assaulted, restrained, over-sedated and left to wander out of homes have come to light during the probes that took place between 2005 and 2006.
AdvertisementThe HSE documents have revealed that elders have been abused in different ways at the HSE nursing homes and private nursing homes with HSE contracts. Admissions to some homes have been temporarily suspended.
The documents also reveal that there have been complaints against some homes which have been repeatedly abusing their elderly inmates. The charges have not been upheld because the caregivers have denied the allegations.
However, a number of nursing home staff members have made complaints about the poor quality of care their elderly patients receive.
The HSE has cited legal reasons for not making details of the probes public. It said that it is "working to provide as much transparency as possible. However, it should be understood that it would not be appropriate to publish details of all complaints either lodged and/or upheld".
Age Action Ireland, the national network on ageing and older people has demanded that the HSE probes that took place in 2005 and 2006, be made public. "Age Action is concerned at the lack of transparency within the HSE when it comes to telling the public what is happening within our nursing homes," said Eamon Timmins, head of advocacy at Age Action.
Apart from those who already have their elders in the HSE nursing homes, it is imperative that this information reaches those who are selecting homes to locate the elders in their family. "It is also important to reassure the public that the HSE is investigating all complaints and ensuring that everything is being done to protect one of the most vulnerable sections of our society," said Eamon Timmins.
The HSE inspects its nursing homes twice a year only. Age Action Ireland continues to receive calls from anxious family members who have their relatives in nursing homes that are so rarely inspected. More out-of-hours or weekend inspections are felt necessary to ensure that such abuses are checked and the elders live in peace and comfort in the waning years of their life.