Second damning report by Hiqa on care unit

A residential centre in Cork City for adults with intellectual disabilities which is due to close has received a second damning inspection report by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Grove House in Gurranabraher will close by the end of the year, the HSE said.

Of 18 standards applied during a two-day announced inspection in October 2014, Hiqa’s report shows the centre was compliant in just one area. An inspection in March 2014 had also revealed major non-compliance.

Although some improvements had been made to the centre since the March inspection, such as upgrading the fire safety system and painting and decorating, the institutional design and layout of the premises is not suitable to meet the needs of residents, the latest report found.

There were 21 residents housed in the facility during October’s inspections.

Overall, an “inadequate level of compliance” is revealed in the report, with seven areas of major non-compliance reported.

A room being used as a “time-out” area during incidents of challenging behaviour was padded with thick, soft material on the walls and floor and was found to be dirty, with dust, stains, and odours present.

Inspectors found ingrained dirt on work surfaces, broken locks on toilet doors, and commode pans being cleaned in the shower room due to lack of sluicing facilities. Some fire exits were locked and keys needed to be located before they could be opened. One resident needed to use sign language to communicate, yet no staff member was trained in sign language.

Insufficient staffing levels were also reported. Staffing shortfalls at the centre were filled by staff working overtime and with agency staff. Only a small number of workers had qualifications in intellectual disability.

Newly qualified nurses began working at the facility after just one hour of induction and with no briefing on the needs of individual residents.

Inspectors were not satisfied that the service was suitable for all residents living in the centre and found it did not have the capacity to meet their needs.

Grove House has listed actions that are being taken in response to Hiqa’s findings, such as repairing toilet locks, hiring two more staff nurses, and the permanent closure of the “time out” room. It has also trained one staff member in sign language and is seeking a speech and language therapist to improve communications between staff and residents.

However, the facility, which was scheduled to close by June 30, will now close by the end of the year.

According to the HSE, 17 residents remain in the centre and are awaiting the provision of suitable accommodation within the community.

Ger Reaney, the chief officer of Cork and Kerry’s Community Healthcare Organisation, said: “We are working towards closing the building as soon as possible. In the interim a comprehensive action plan is being implemented to address immediate improvements identified in the Hiqa report.”

The closure of Grove House forms part of the HSE’s strategy for community inclusion, ‘Time to Move on from Congregated Settings,’ which was implemented in 2011 following a report that identified 4,000 people living in such settings who could be moved to “supported living arrangements”.

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