THE Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has raised concerns about the practice of placing additional beds on wards at the University Hospital Limerick.
Two visits to the Dooradoyle facility were carried out unannounced in November and January last.
HIQA discovered an extra bed was put into a 17-bed surgical ward, an extra bed in a 15-bed medical ward, while a patient requiring isolation was accommodated in a nine-bedded area close to a hand hygiene sink.
The authority said bed space should be sufficient enough to provide assurance that the risk of spread of healthcare associated infections are minimised, and the opportunities for patients to share items are reduced.
The authority recommends that the hospital reviews how it prioritises and determines the accommodation of extra patients, particularly those requiring isolation, to ensure the dignity of the patient is protected and to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.
A needle-less syringe attached to a saline container was sitting on a bedside locker on a surgical ward, and a second syringe was lying on the floor at a patient bedside. The hospital told the authority that it was normal practice on the ward to leave syringes at a patient bedside to flush intravenous access following intravenous medication.