Staff at centre for people with disabilities didn’t know roster, Hiqa report states

A report into a centre for people with disabilities reveals that staff arrived to work there on the morning of an inspection not knowing what shift they were on and organising the roster among themselves, a situation that contributed to “an unacceptable level of risk to residents” at the facility.

Staff at centre for people with disabilities didn’t know roster, Hiqa report states

The inspection of the Vevay Close facility in Wicklow, operated by Sunbeam House Services Company Limited, resulted in a warning from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) that it would seek to have the centre closed unless steps were taken to address numerous issues.

In a separate, critical inspection report of Adults Services Palmerstown Designated Centre 1, operated by Stewarts Care Ltd in Dublin 20, Hiqa found major non-compliances with standards in every area inspected, with one resident revealing they had to lock their wardrobe as another resident frequently entered their bedroom uninvited. Locks were used in order to prevent them from taking their possessions and throwing them out the window.

During the same Centre 1 inspection, Hiqa said “two residents were left with no option but to retreat to their bedrooms to maintain personal safety” amid challenging behaviour by another resident. The inspectors were advised not to leave the locked office of the unit during this time and a staff member admitting residents felt afraid.

The two reports were among 21 reports published yesterday on disability services.

Five related to centres run by Sunbeam, with that on the Vevay Close facility, home to seven residents, highlighting serious non-compliances.

Hiqa had issued it with a warning letter on August 18 last regarding the possible consequences of failing to bring it into compliance.

The provider was given a three-month timeframe to bring about necessary improvements but a tip-off outlining concerns over resident safety and staffing sparked another inspection.

It found “a breakdown of the governance and management systems” and “an absence of day-to-day management systems and oversight”. Some permanent staff had left, others had been injured or were sick, and the centre became increasingly reliant on agency staff.

“On the morning of inspection, staff had arrived at the centre to work not knowing what shift they were coming on to work,” it says.

The report says systems for recording, risk assessing, and responding to accidents and incidents were inadequate. Incidents from just a few months previously showed injuries to staff including shoulder injuries, staff hospitalisation for concussion, hair pulls, and bite injuries to staff.

There were seven recorded medication errors, which included medication not administered, a scald to a resident, a safeguarding incident which involved a resident while unaccompanied in the community, and an injury to a resident’s foot which was later diagnosed as a fracture.

Hiqa issued the operator with an action plan to address the issues.

The same course of action was pursued at Palmerstown Designated Centre 1, where concerns included the use of restrictive practices, a lack of privacy, safeguarding residents from assault by their peers, and poor hygiene.

In one incident, a report notes: “One resident was observed to be removing their clothing throughout the period of the inspection and staff redressed them on five occasions in front of those present in the living room.”

It found that “inspectors identified two residents could not freely access water in a unit and the measures the staff outlined for one resident to access drinks were not implemented”.

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