Registration of care facility cancelled after Hiqa inspection

Registration of care facility cancelled after Hiqa inspection

Allegations at the facility in Wexford included institutional abuse, neglect of residents 'residing in poor living conditions', peer-to-peer incidents, and sexual abuse. File picture: Niall Carson

Safeguarding arrangements couldn't protect people from the risk of abuse in a residential care facility, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has found.

The facility’s registration was subsequently cancelled on July 3 and the HSE has taken over its operation.

Allegations at the facility in Wexford included institutional abuse, neglect of residents "residing in poor living conditions", peer-to-peer incidents, and sexual abuse.

Piles of cat faeces and rotting food were also found in the bedroom of one resident.

The “strong and offensive” stench was so bad that inspectors could barely stand being in the room.

They were so appalled they ordered an immediate deep clean and refused to leave until it was completed.

A total of “eight large black bags of refuse” were then removed from the room during the course of the deep clean at the Camphill Community facility in Duffcarrig.

Inspectors say some managers actually knew about the state of the room but did nothing.

Hiqa also found bathrooms and one kitchen "unsuitable and not fit for purpose, with residents living in 'inadequate facilities', with one shared bathroom having a “strong smell of urine”.

Large industrial-sized bins containing waste were also found to be “overflowing”, and bags of refuse were placed adjacent to bins.

Hiqa noted “inspectors found staff had better-maintained living arrangements than residents”.

They said: “The inspectors observed in one house that the largest and nicest bedroom which was furnished with a very nice large double bed was for co-workers/volunteer use whilst smaller box style rooms with very modest single beds were in use for residents in the centre.” 

There were also issues around residents being asked to bring large amounts of cash into the home and inspectors found a lack of “oversight or reconciliation of residents' finances”.

Following an inspection in March, the chief inspector of social services issued a notice of the proposed decision to cancel the registration of the centre.

Camphill Communities of Ireland, which is the registered provider, appealed against the decision.

Staff at the facility, which consists of seven rural residential units for 25 residents who have intellectual disabilities, autism, and physical and sensory disabilities, outlined proposed actions to comply with the regulations.

Despite promises, follow-up inspections in May led Hiqa inspectors to fail the facility in every regulation it was inspected for.

The facility’s registration was subsequently cancelled “following repeated failure of Camphill Communities of Ireland to improve the safety and quality of life for residents” on July 3.

The operation of the centre has now been taken over by the HSE.

Hiqa said: “An inspection in May 2021 found that while there had been improvements to some of the more concerning aspects of the living environment, the provider had failed to implement most of its planned actions to improve the care and support provided to residents.

“There continued to be a very high level of non-compliance with the regulations in the centre.” 

Inspectors added: “Given the significant level of non-compliances and the failure of the provider to demonstrate an ability to take action to improve the safety and quality of service for residents, the chief inspector issued a notice to cancel the registration of the centre.

“The provider waived its right to appeal the decision to the district court and accepted the decision, which came into effect on July 3, 2021.”

A spokesperson for Camphill they have cooperated with the transfer of the service to the HSE.

Ann Sheehan, Camphill Communities of Ireland CEO, said that the residents at Duffcarrig are guaranteed of a continuing service either in Duffcarrig or at another location.

Ms Sheehan said that Camphill is extremely disappointed about the registration cancellation for Duffcarrig.

“Huge efforts were made by Camphill management and staff to try and tackle the issues highlighted by Hiqa but we simply weren’t able to address them all in time even with the significant support received from the HSE.”

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