"Lack of empathy in MH services"

About: Sligo Leitrim Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit

(as a service user),

I spent two months in St Columba’s hospital a while back. I feel there was a  total lack of empathy from some of the nursing staff, it amazed me. Quite often some of the nurses spent most of their time sat in the office.

On more than one occasion one nurse spoke very loudly in front of lots of patients about personal stuff regarding only one. Personally I found out about another patients self harm because this nurse asked the patient to come out of the room so they could take the stitches out of their arm. In front of everybody.

Same nurse questioned me in front of everyone as to why I was not dressed. I had just had a change of meds and needed to give myself a chance to get used to them so I stayed in pj bottoms.

I feel little empathy was shown to anyone. I also feel nursing staff back each other, no matter how upset someone is in there due to a staff mistake. Which in my opinion they made plenty of.

Responses

Response from Enda Moylan, Clinical Nurse Manager, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services, HSE We are preparing to make a change

Dear Sligo 112

Its with much sadness I read your story on Care Opinion, as an area manager for the approved centre I would primarily like to offer my sincere apologies for your very poor experience in our service. I would like to address your individual concerns.

The lack of empathy being displayed: as a core value in nursing empathy is essential and its absence is hugely worrying & disappointing in equal measure. I view this as a wake up call for myself & my colleagues. I will be personally highlighting this to my colleagues & encouraging a re-grounding with basic nursing principles.

The amount of time nursing staff spend in nursing stations is a major concern of mine & has been for some time. "Office orientated nursing" has in my opinion eroded the amount of time nursing staff spend in clinical practice directly involved in client care, reasons for same are obvious: policies procedures & legislation to name but a few.

Confidentiality is of huge concern for all workers but especially people involved in Mental Health services. Again I apologise for your experience in general care setting & assure you staff undergo ongoing education in general data protection and same will be further re-enforced.

With regard to individual nurses' attitudes I will endeavour to speak with all nursing staff in general & encourage a cultural change rather than a reprimand for some poor performances. There has already been some work done at unit level regarding same and can only be improved on.

I hope my response adressess some of your concerns. I thank you for your constructive remarks & don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Regards Enda Moylan

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