Resident’s cash used for care centre purchases

Money belonging to a resident in a centre for people with disabilities was used inappropriately to buy items including cutlery, soft furnishings, and a fireplace, according to a report by health watchdog Hiqa.

The inspection conducted by the Health Information and Quality Authority also found infant product, Calpol, was administered to an adult resident at the centre for pain relief.

The findings relate to a designated centre for people with disabilities operated by St John of God Community Services Ltd, which provides facilities and services to 22 adult male residents.

There were a number of issues detected at the centre in Co Louth, including “a lack of resources in areas that included staffing (levels, skill mix, and training) and individual transport [that] negatively impacted on the rights of residents and did not promote engagement within the wider community”.

According to the report: “Systems were in place to support residents to access and retain control of personal property and possessions and support was provided by staff to manage their financial affairs.

“However, inspectors found that the management of finances for one resident, who had no independent representative or next-of-kin, had not been managed appropriately.

“Money of one resident had been used inappropriately to purchase items that included cutlery, soft furnishings, and a fireplace which was in connection with the carrying on or management of the centre.

“Inspectors were informed during feedback that a review would be completed with a view to repaying the resident for items generally provided in connection with the carrying on and managing a centre.”

Inspectors also read that a response measure taken by staff in relation to one resident who sustained an injury included the administration of Calpol for pain relief. This was later confirmed but “an alternative and appropriate pain relief commonly used by adults was subsequently prescribed”.

From the beginning of last year, a national incident management system recorded 44 incidents of abuse or assaults between residents and up to 30 other incidents of abuse/assaults by residents on staff, but staff training records showed up to 14 of the 52 staff had not received training in the management of aggression and violence and others had not attended refresher training as required.

There were other instances where staff did not appear to be sufficiently trained to deal with particular circumstances, and inspectors said the measures in place at the centre were “inadequate to protect residents from being harmed or suffering abuse”.

A separate Hiqa report into a designated centre for people with disabilities operated by Brothers of Charity Services in Limerick also highlighted numerous shortcomings — so much so that the provider was asked to attend a meeting with Hiqa last October at which the provider was issued with a warning letter.

Sixteen medication errors had been recorded since the previous inspection in February 2015 and the inspector found that half of these were directly related to medication management practice by staff.

Inspectors were told that the demands on staff due to a lack of resources and the over-reliance on relief staff were factors contributing to the medication errors.


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