Staff at a Dundee care facility have expressed fears the design of some of its rooms may be putting its elderly patients at risk.
Workers at the Kingsway Care Centre, which specialises in looking after older people with psychiatric conditions, have previously raised concerns with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) over being able to properly observe patients.
Managers at the facility, run by Dundee’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and NHS Tayside, believe patients who are being kept under especially close watch are at greater risk if they cannot be observed without staff entering their room.
They first raised concerns during a previous visit by MWC inspectors in September 2016.
However, following a fresh inspection carried out at the unit in April, the MWC found no improvements had yet been made to the rooms.
Alison Thomson, executive nursing director at the MWC, said in a report on the inspection: “We had noticed on our previous visit that nursing staff found it difficult to observe patients when they are in their rooms because of their design.
“This can mean if a patient is on an enhanced level of observation, nursing staff have to enter rooms when undertaking observations.”
Ms Thomson noticed that “no alterations” had been made since the MWC’s last visit, and called on the health board to prioritise the redesign of some of the centre’s rooms.
She said: “The MWC feels this is an issue which needs to be addressed by NHS Tayside.
“We would suggest there should be a number of rooms available in each ward, which have the facility to allow nursing staff to observe patients – without having to enter rooms, and to avoid disturbing patients unnecessarily overnight.”
However, beyond issuing a formal recommendation to NHS Tayside managers that rooms should be redesigned, the MWC’s report on Kingsway was largely positive.
The group of inspectors – made up of social work and nursing experts – said the 55-bed facility and its workers had left them “impressed”.
Ms Thomson added: “Where we were able to have discussions with patients about their experience of care and treatment in the wards, they spoke positively about the support they are receiving.
“On this visit commission visitors were impressed by the emphasis within the wards on staff training and on reflective practice and learning.”
A spokeswoman for Dundee HSCP said the partnership welcomed the report, adding: “We are also pleased to note the many areas of good practice identified by the reviewers.
“We acknowledge the recommendation and have already begun our actions to address this issue.”