Hiqa: Measures not taken to protect residents with disabilities from physical and verbal abuse

Residents at a Wicklow centre for people with disabilities continue to suffer physical and verbal abuse because measures to protect them have not been taken.

Hiqa inspectors made an unannounced visit to Rosanna Gardens near Ashford, operated by Sunbeam House Services Company, last September.

Over the previous three months, there had been 96 incidents of aggression and self-harm recorded at the centre.

Some residents told the inspectors they felt unhappy and unsafe living at a centre that Hiqa threatened to deregister 12 months ago.

The centre has 13 residents who need significant support, particularly around their behavioural needs.

Inspectors found that the residents were not protected from all forms of abuse, due to the mix of residents within the centre.

The centre has been inspected eight times since the introduction of regulations in the disability sector in November 2013

The latest inspection was to monitor progress in relation to the phased introduction of a plan to move a number of residents to more suitable accommodation.

The first phase of the plan was to be implemented last September but inspectors found this had not happened and residents continued to be subjected to incidents of aggression.

Hiqa said a notice of proposal to cancel the registration of the centre, which it issued a year ago, still stands because of the situation.

Inspectors noted that the centre was providing an enhanced quality of life to a small number of residents.

However, the “core issue” remained in relation to the incompatibility of residents, which was impacting negatively on the majority of those living in the centre.

The provider said the HSE gave the go-ahead, at the end of October, to acquire a property for phase one of its decongregation plan.

It said it was recruiting additional staff at weekdays and during the weekend to provide more safeguarding for residents.

Inspectors were also critical of Peamount Healthcare, a voluntary organisation in Dublin providing residential care for people with a neurological disability, people with an intellectual disability, and older people.

The centre had 26 residents when an unannounced inspection took place last August to follow up on one six months earlier.

Inspectors found there was no clear line of accountability for the provision of services and staff were not clear on their roles and responsibilities.

It emerged that 35 medication errors had been recorded at the centre and that no medication audit had been completed to assure safe practices.

Also, staff had not received training in some areas identified as required at the previous inspection. This included training on vital signs and diabetes.

Hiqa officials who inspected a residential centre for adults in Palmerstown, Co Dublin, last October found a high level of non- compliance with the regulations.

The centre has six residents, and the announced inspection was to assess an application to renew its registration.

Inspectors, who reviewed a sample of residents’ files, found that nine incidents of potential abuse towards residents were not followed up.

A review of staff training records found that almost 42% had not completed a mandatory awareness programme on safeguarding vulnerable persons.

- Irish Examiner

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