Failures to identify suspicions of abuse and serious risks to patient safety have been noted in a number of disability centres.
In a series of inspection reports, the Health and Information Quality Authority (Hiqa) identified a range of areas of major non-compliance with standards in disability centres in Mayo and Limerick.
In one centre operated by the Western Care Association in Mayo, the Hiqa inspector was told there were no investigations ongoing at the time of his inspection.
However, the inspector subsequently identified that some residents had experienced peer-on-peer abuse; despite regular complaints to staff that this was an ongoing problem, no action was taken to safeguard residents.
Serious risks were identified to three residents living in two of the four houses in the centre due to a lack of appropriate night-time supervision.
One resident with severe uncontrolled epilepsy was not appropriately assessed or supervised at night.
Another resident, identified as having severe complex behavioural needs and requiring constant supervision during the day, frequently walked around at night, unsupervised.
No actions were taken by the management team to address the significant risk the resident posed while left alone and unsupervised, downstairs.
The Hiqa inspector also found that the respite house in the centre was not suitable for such a purpose and did not meet the needs of the residents.
In a second report regarding a community house which provides support to five residents, and which is also run by Western Care Association, Hiqa found there were instances in which suspicions of abuse had not been identified.
The service provider said it had arranged a safeguarding training event for staff and that its policy had been upgraded to reflect the national policy Safeguarding Vulnerable People at Risk of Abuse. It also said relevant staff had been briefed on the requirement to notify the chief inspector on all instances of suspicion or allegation of abuse as well as all other notification requirements.
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