Review ordered of isolation units for teens

Health chiefs have been ordered to review the use of isolation units for troubled teenagers in light of a damning inspection of a care home.

Children’s minister James Reilly said the use of “single separation” should be consistent, safe, and accountable after youngsters at Ballydowd Special Care Unit in Dublin had to urinate on the floor or were denied a shower after being locked up and refused access to bathrooms.

“I know that young people in special care units have experienced great difficulties in their lives and that this can spill over into extremely challenging behaviour, including self-harm and assaults on staff, but this is not the standard of care that we expect,” said Mr Reilly.

Health chiefs are being asked to examine the use of isolation in special care, children’s residential centres and the detention centre for young offenders in Oberstown.

The audit will look at the frequency, duration and practice of single separation and the suitability of the buildings and rooms where youngsters are kept.

“The objective of the review is to ensure a consistent, safe and accountable policy for children’s welfare when this intervention proves necessary, in all the relevant settings in which it takes place,” said Mr Reilly.

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