Watchdog concerned over 12 care units

Concern about how residents with disabilities would escape a unit in the event of a fire was just one issue raised by health inspectors examining 19 residential centres.

In total, 12 out of the 19 services examined by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) were found to be non-compliant.

Three reports related to Camphill Communities of Ireland.

Due to safeguarding concerns in the organisation as a whole, a number of regulatory meetings were held with the provider in 2016 and a warning letter was issued regarding safeguarding systems and governance structures.

While improvements were evident on the inspections, inspectors were not assured that the systems were sufficiently robust to provide consistent safe practice and response to concerns which arose in one centre.

In June, the HSE took over management of the Camphill Communities of Ireland centre in Ballytobin, Co Kilkenny, after Hiqa cancelled its registration.

The Camp Community centre in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was found to have major non-compliance in respect of the health and safety of staff, residents, and visitors.

The fire management equipment in respect of six of the seven houses/apartments on the site were found to be “not satisfactory”.

“There was no emergency lighting, fire doors in relevant locations, and only domestic-style smoke alarms. The risk was further compounded by the fact that there were no staff present in three of the units overnight. There were, however, staff available in adjacent units,” states the report.

“On the day of the inspection, the management team were requested to implement immediate additional safety measures in the absence of such systems. These was satisfactorily implemented.”

Hiqa inspectors expressed concern about how residents would escape some units in the event of a fire outbreak.

“For example, if a fire was in the kitchen the exits from these areas could not be used and the alternatives were not considered in the drills. While there were master keys to the individual units there was no clarity as to how these could be located in an emergency,” it states.

Reports on five centres operated by Brothers of Charity Services found that three were, in the main, operating in compliance with the regulations and standards.

Improvements were required to the management of emergency medicines in one centre. An inspection of another Brothers of Charity Services-run centre found governance and management arrangements did not provide sufficient oversight of the quality of care residents received.

Three reports have been published for Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services. While one centre was predominantly compliant with the regulations and standards, a fire safety risk was identified on inspection.

In another centre, inspectors found that the campus-based environment was having a negative impact on the social needs and community inclusion of residents.

Inspections in two Ability West centres found that residents’ needs were met with a good level of compliance. An inspection of a third centre found that it was not ensuring all residents could be evacuated in the event of an emergency.

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