An inspection of a community centre in the Midlands for people with an intellectual disability found that measures designed to eliminate the possibility of abuse had not been employed regarding some residents with “unexplained bruising”.
The unannounced inspection of the designated centre for people with disabilities operated by the HSE in Co Westmeath focused on two community houses housing a total of 10 residents.
The inspection, carried out by Hiqa (the Health Information and Quality Authority) found “significant deficits in the safety and quality of the service provided”, with 11 of the 14 outcomes inspected finding major non-compliance with the Health Act 2007 .
In finding that governance and management systems at the centre were weak, Hiqa said immediate and sustained action was required to ensure safe and effective care for residents.
Among the shortcomings was a finding that the size and layout of the rooms were not fit for purpose, particularly in instances where people were sharing a room.
One resident used a commode in their bedroom as opposed to the communal toilet because of the challenging behaviour of another resident.
In one house there was insufficient room for the wheelchair of one resident in their bedroom and so it was stored in the bathroom.
“There was an absence of positive behaviour support in place for numerous residents which impacted on their ability to engage in meaningful activities in the wider community, therefore impinging on their individual rights,” the report said, outlining how some residents had left their home four days in a 14-day period.
According to the report, “numerous residents engaged in antisocial behaviours which would significantly impinge on their ability to engage with the wider community, however there was an absence of appropriate interventions identified by the appropriate Allied Health Professional and supports in place to address these behaviours”.
According to the report: “The organisation had a policy and procedureregarding the prevention, detection and response to abuse.”
However, inspectors identified instances in residents’ daily progress notes where residents had unexplained bruising.
The residents were referred to the appropriate healthcare professional to address the bruising, but “the organisation’s policy and procedures were not initiated to eliminate the possibility of abuse”.
Inspectors were informed by staff that, as the history of the resident would suggest, the bruising was as a result of behaviours that challenge, however this was not in line with the policy on protecting vulnerable adults, therefore a risk was present.”
Responding to the inspection findings the service provider instigated an action plan, much of which should already have been fulfilled since the date of the inspection last November.
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