Woman, 73, went without full meal for days on trolley  at Limerick hospital

Woman, 73, went without full meal for days on trolley  at Limerick hospital

University Hospital Limerick

A 73-year-od woman went without a full meal for four days as she lay on a trolley in UHL’s emergency department. 

Ann McNicholas, from Croom, was admitted to UHL on Friday, January 3 where she was diagnosed with Influenza A - the most severe form of the flu. 

Ann’s daughter Sharon Noonan told the Limerick Leader how her mother was one of the record-breaking 92 patients on trolleys in the hospital this Monday.

“If you don't get assigned a bed you do not get any dinner – how can this be allowed to happen and continue?” asked Sharon, who said her mother was offered sandwiches, buns and fruit during her time on a trolley. 

A UHL spokesperson said: “We fully understand the important role that nutrition and hydration plays in the care of patients and in their recovery.  Every effort is made to provide nutrition and hydration as appropriate to all patients who are waiting in the ED for admission to a bed.

“Currently, where a patient is able to sit up and following clinical advice, they are offered food and drink at mealtimes. Typically this is soup/sandwiches and tea/coffee. Providing hot meals to all patients in all areas of the ED environment has proven a challenge. Many patients waiting on trolleys do not have an appropriate surface and hot food could pose a health and safety hazard. All patients in the 12-bed Clinical Decision Unit within ED currently do get a full meal service as the environment allows for this.

“We are highly conscious of the patients' nutrition and hydration needs and we know from their feedback that our patients would like a more comprehensive meal service in ED. We can confirm we will be introducing catering improvements for ED patients in the coming weeks.” 

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