Disability centre prevented from opening until serious shortcomings addressed

A new centre for people with disabilities in Coachford, Co Cork, cannot open until serious shortcomings are addressed, it has emerged.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) who visited Lee View House in April found five areas of “major non-compliance”.

The renovated farmhouse designed to accommodate four adults is situated on about four acres of land overlooking a lake.

The centre is owned by Carena Care Limited, a British company that runs a 60-bed nursing and residential home in Worcestershire.

Inspectors found that the farmhouse was restored to a very high standard and it was obvious that significant resources had been spent on upgrading fire safety in the house.

The farm area had chickens, roosters, dogs, and two horses. There is also a horticultural area with a polytunnel for growing vegetables.

However, based on information supplied to Hiqa the person in charge did not have the necessary qualifications, skills, and experience.

The person responsible was not clear on the ratio of staff that would be required as residents were admitted to the centre. There was no planned rota to identify staffing levels needed during the week, at night, or at weekends.

The inspectors found that many of the centre’s arrangements and policies on recruitment and Garda vetting referred to British law.

There were no clear mechanisms in place to ensure that a pharmacist was available to residents and that staff were competent to make sure that all medicines would be administered as prescribed.

The inspectors found that each of the residents would have a spacious bedroom on the first floor of the house.

On the ground floor, there was a large sitting room with a comfortable couch, armchairs, and a piano. The centre was visibly clean, and the person in charge knew about cleaning and infection control.

However, the inspectors found improvements were needed on how the centre would manage risk. While there was a policy on “risk-taking” it did not specify how specific risks, such as aggression and violence, would be handled.

There was a policy on the reporting of accidents and incidents but, again, it referred to British legislation that did not apply to Ireland.

The person in charge said her most recent relevant experience had been working as a healthcare assistant in a number of healthcare settings in Britain from August 2012 to July 2014.

She had previously been the office manager of the Carena Care’s centre in Worcestershire from 2000 to 2003. She had a degree in journalism.

She acknowledged that significant work had to be done to make policies centre- specific, based on Irish law and reflective of policies in the centre.

Carena Care has told Hiqa it is appointing a person in charge with more suitable up-to-date experience and qualifications and that all policies would comply with Irish law and be centre specific.

Another inspection revealed critical failings in a centre for peoples with disabilities operated by RehabCare in a quiet suburb in Limerick. Hiqa issued an immediate action plan to ensure staff were on duty at the centre at all time and knew how to administer a medicine called Buccal Midazolam prescribed for some residents to manage seizures.


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