Residents 'at risk of harm' in Waterford facility for intellectual disabilities

Three of the four residents spoken to by the Hiqa inspector spoke “of not being happy in the centre”
Residents 'at risk of harm' in Waterford facility for intellectual disabilities

Hiqa said residents were placed “at risk of harm” at the centre, which had only only months previously passed a previous inspection with flying colours. File photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A facility run by Ireland’s largest private sector provider of intellectual disability and mental health services was unable to ensure residents were protected from “all forms of abuse” when inspected by Hiqa.

The Health Information and Quality Authority also said residents were placed “at risk of harm” at the centre, which had only months previously passed a previous inspection with flying colours.

Despite this, the Nua Healthcare Services-run facility, The Ivies in Co. Waterford, was only fully compliant in just one of the 15 standards for which it was inspected.

While an inspection report in January commended the facility for being well staffed, that appears to have changed and residents spoke of “a lot of staff leaving”.

The facility, which provides 24-hour care for up to five male and female adults with complex support needs such as intellectual disability and acquired brain injury, was inspected by the health watchdog on May 26 and May 31.

Residents at risk of harm

An inspector noted: “The registered provider had not ensured each resident was protected from all forms of abuse. Due to the non-adherence of staff to specific risk assessments, a resident was placed in an unsafe situation which resulted in the need for medical attention.” 

It said that on the day of the first inspection, the inspector was informed that a resident was in isolation due to an incident that had happened a few days previously.

“It was noted that staff only had starting wearing full PPE the day before the inspection. There was no specific plan evident on inspection to support the rationale in relation to this isolation despite numerous requests.

“Following a serious incident, a governance review was not effectively completed to ensure all details present were correct and information was correlated in such area as incident reports, notifications and behaviour support plans.

“As staff were not consistently provided with clear up-to-date guidance to support residents in the area of behaviours that challenge, the registered provider placed the residents at risk of harm.” 

It added: “Whilst the registered provider had appointed a clear governance structure to the centre, oversight was not in place to ensure the centre was operating a safe and effective service, ensuring the assessed needs of the residents were being met.” 

There was evidence of out-of-date food in fridges. Inspectors also said “residents did not experience a meaningful day and supports were not in place to promote their skills and independence” and that three of the four residents spoken to spoke “of not being happy in the centre”.

The report is directly at odds with the company’s stated “care philosophy” and belief that “having the highest quality of care is an absolute right of everyone”.

Other centres

It was one of 29 inspection reports issued by Hiqa into designated centres for people with disabilities. Of these, inspectors found a good level of compliance with the regulations and standards in 17 centres operated by a number of providers.

In contrast to its Waterford facility, a centre operated by Nua Healthcare Services in Laois received a favourable report in part because a resident had recently got a new puppy.

Inspectors found that residents also took pride in showing the centre’s garden where they planted flowers and vegetables, with one resident telling inspectors about gardening and catering work experience they had done. 

Inspectors identified non-compliance with the regulations and standards on 12 inspections.

In one HSE centre, an urgent action was issued to the provider due to non-compliance with fire precaution standards, which included containment and extinguishing of a fire.

In other HSE centres, non-compliance was recorded across a number of regulations including; registration, governance and management issues, staffing, general welfare and development of residents, upkeep of the premises and fire precautions.

A spokesperson for Nua Healthcare said: “Nua Healthcare accepts these findings and is disappointed that the high standards we strive for, and upon which we pride ourselves, were not met on this occasion.

“Since then, every issue raised in the report has been actioned and rectified in full.

“The centre was previously visited by Hiqa in January when all 17 regulations that were inspected were 100% compliant.”

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