Resident strapped to chair at care centre for disabled

At a centre for people with disabilities, one resident was strapped to a chair and another had a ‘sleep suit’.

An inspection report into the Adults Services Palmerstown Designated Centre 5 facility, in Dublin 20, found no evidence of appropriate follow-up in any of the 16 incidents that potentially met the definition of abuse. 

These incidents included peer-to-peer physical abuse, unexplained bruising to residents, and unexplained injuries. 

The centre, operated by Stewart’s Care Ltd and home to 29 residents, was highly criticised by the report, conducted by <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.hiqa.ie/">the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa)</a>. 

It found major non-compliance with all nine standards that were inspected. 

Hiqa found the service “was not safe and had failed to ensure that residents were protected from abuse, and to ensure that residents’ healthcare needs were met”.

“In one unit, inspectors observed a resident restrained in a reclined chair with a lap belt in place,” it said. 

“Staff present stated that the resident could mobilise independently. The use of this restrictive procedure had been prescribed. However, inspectors found that it was not being used as outlined in the associated protocol. Staff present at the time confirmed that this restrictive procedure was used in response to reduced staffing levels.

“Inspectors reviewed associated documentation and found that this restrictive procedure was used for 90 hours for this resident, over a 19-day period prior to inspection.”

Hiqa also found that two residents in one unit were being administered regular steroidal antiandrogen medication for inappropriate sexual behaviour, yet a review of documentation showed no indicators for its use.

The report highlighted inadequate staffing at the centre, noting: “In one unit, the most experienced staff member had worked in the area for three weeks.”

Inspectors observed that one resident still had not received breakfast by 11.25am and, in the previous 14-hour period, had no record of any fluid intake.

As for the inappropriate use of some restrictive practices: “In one instance, a staff member confirmed that a restrictive practice was being used in response to staff shortages. In another case, inspectors found that a ‘sleep suit’ was in use for a resident at night time.”

A plan was issued in response to the findings, as was the case at another Stewart’s Care Ltd facility, the Stewart’s Adults Services Palmerstown Designated Centre 3. That report identified a number of problems and major non-compliances, among them an inappropriate mix of residents, delays in providing breakfast, and “a complete lack of appropriate follow-up” to 14 incidents of potential abuse.

A review of a file of a staff member, against whom an allegation of misconduct was made, highlighted that there was no evidence of any disciplinary actions taken by the provider, in response to the incident of concern.


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