By Michael McHugh
Admissions have been suspended at a Co Tyrone nursing home after inspectors found some patients treated in a derogatory fashion and a "significant" number of areas of disrepair.
Health watchdog the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) issued seven failure to comply notices to Valley Nursing Home in Clogher.
It said one wardrobe was insecurely attached to a bedroom wall and in places electrical wiring was partially exposed.
Staff described in "derogatory" terms some residents who required help eating and drinking as "feeders".
An official document from the RQIA said: "RQIA was concerned that this provision was inadequate and was not provided to residents in a dignified and timely manner."
Inspectors also observed inadequate management of distressed behaviour.
The report said: "Supervision of patients was poor, inconsistent and inadequate in some parts of the home."
One patient informed the inspector that being assisted from bed each day in a timely manner was "hit or miss".
Staff were observed assisting the patient from bed in the middle of the afternoon and another patient's clothing was in a poor state of repair.
Inspectors also discovered hygiene problems. Clinical waste in some areas was not effectively managed.
Handwashing was not effectively embedded into practice.
The inspectors gave the home until later this month to fulfil a series of actions designed to comply with regulations.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "Today's news will be worrying for families who have family members residing in Valley Nursing Home.
"The well-being and safety of patients is paramount.
"The failings found by RQIA must be rectified to ensure this is the case."
A statement from the MPS Care Group said: "Valley Nursing Home is working closely with RQIA and local trusts to ensure any matters that needs improvement are dealt with in a timely and swift manner.
"The Southern and Western Trusts are communicating on a frequent basis with the home and the provisions of care have not been compromised."