Understaffed centre ordered not to take in new residents

Health watchdog Hiqa has strongly criticised a centre for people with disabilities, ordering no new residents be taken in until issues of understaffing are addressed.

The inspection uncovered a string of failings at the designated centre for people with disabilities, which is operated by the HSE in Co Westmeath.

The failings at the facility included inappropriate staffing, shortcomings regarding nursing care, inadequate management systems, and insufficient systems in place in the centre for the assessment, management, and ongoing review of risk, including a system for responding to an emergency or emergencies.

Residents were also not provided with opportunities to participate in activities in accordance with their interests, capabilities, and developmental needs, and were not provided with access to facilities for occupation and recreation.

It was agreed there would be no admissions to the centre until a stable nursing and non-nursing staff was consistently in place.

According to the report by Hiqa: “There were complaints from December 2014 to May 2015 in respect of insufficient staff being available to meet the needs of the residents; for example, there were occasions when residents were unable to go to bed and get up at a time of their choice, go on planned visits, and celebrate significant occasions.”

Family members had already complained about the centre’s policy not to stay with a resident who was hospitalised and of the distress endured by a resident in an unfamiliar environment and with unfamiliar medical personnel.

A resident who had planned to visit a family member remained in the centre while awaiting the return of a staff member and resident who had been out for an appointment.


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