Why No Criminal Charges here? Our most Vulnerable, Stressed, Neglected and often vulnerable people; their Lives were put at Risk. Again, that surely must be a Criminal Act???

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Mother and daughter who showed ‘serious disregard’ to residents of nursing home they ran have their names erased from Register of Nurses

 16th November 2021

A mother and daughter who ran a nursing home and who “showed profound dishonesty and serious disregard” to the people in their care are to have their names erased from the Register of Nurses.

Miriam Holmes was director of nursing and her daughter Hayley Holmes was the assistant director of nursing at the Avondale Nursing Home in Co Kilkenny which was several years ago closed down on foot of a court order.

The President of the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, on Monday confirmed the erasure of both their names from the register.

She said the professional misconduct in their cases “placed at risk and caused unnecessary suffering to some of the most vulnerable members of society, those who because of their poor health or frailty found themselves dependant upon the care afforded to them in the nursing home”.

It was “incredibly important that society in general can have trust and confidence in those responsible for the care of those who cannot take care of themselves and who cannot be minded in their own homes”, she said.

She noted in both cases “the profound dishonesty and serious disregard shown” to the people in their care who the judge said “deserved to be treated at a minimum in accordance with standard practice and care”.

Ms Justice Irvine also ordered that the Nursing Board of Australia be notified of the erasure.

The court had heard that both women now live in Australia and Hayley Holmes had, in 2011, been “untruthful” with the wards of court office regarding moving residents from the nursing home to allow building works to be carried out when the women’s intention was to immediately emigrate to Australia.

The application for the erasure of the Holmes’ names was made by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland to the High Court.

In 2011 the board received complaints from a former staff nurse at the nursing home and from HIQA, the Health Information and Quality Authority.

As a result the registration of the two women was suspended. A garda investigation took place and in 2018 it was decided that there would be no prosecution.

A fitness to practise committee then conducted an inquiry.

Ms Justice Irvine listed the allegations against both women including that they failed to ensure appropriate care was afforded to the residents of Avondale and that residents were woken between 4am and 7.30am so they could be medicated, washed and fed.

It was also alleged there was a failure to treat one patient’s pressure sores in an appropriate manner so that her condition deteriorated. The judge said the resident presumably suffered more pain and distress than she ought to have done.

There was also a failure to have regard for a patient suffering from malnutrition and continued weight loss and a failure to investigate medication errors.

Other allegations included a failure to ensure staff had been garda vetted and between April and July 2011 a failure to take appropriate action to implement HIQA recommendations and that in July 2011 there was a failure to ensure arrangement for the discharge of residents was carried out in a planned and safe manner.

Recommending the sanction of erasure, the fitness to practise committee found that the conduct of both women was “fundamentally incompatible with being a nurse”.

The judge said it noted the extreme dishonesty and disregard shown by both.

Ms Justice Irvine said in reaching its decision the board was clearly satisfied the conduct was at the most serious end of the spectrum “given the wide ranging persistent and repeated nature of the misconduct concerned”.

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