Two COPE Foundation centres in Cork City have been severely criticised by the health watchdog after inspections found issues ranging from unexplained absences by residents and a "substantial" amount of money belonging to a resident going missing.
The reports by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) follow inspections of the Cork City South 1 and Cork City South 3 Cope facilities during the summer.
In the latter facility, home to 30 residents, Hiqa reported: "When reviewing the record of incidents that had occurred in the centre, the inspector read that it was identified in January 2022 that a substantial sum of money belonging to one resident could not be accounted for.
"It was not documented what, if any follow-up actions, had been completed as a result of this discovery. When asked, management was not able to inform the inspector or to advise if the resident’s money was found."
The report also found shortcomings in staff training, that medication audits were not available and complaints had not been not properly documented.
Staffing levels were also insufficient. One house that accommodated 11 residents was not staffed during the day. According to the report: "Documented incidents outlined that residents had alerted staff to a resident falling while having a seizure, and on another occasion to a resident leaving the centre without staff knowledge."
As for the use of restrictive procedures, according to Hiqa: "It became clear that a procedure that had been reported previously had not been reported in the last two quarterly notifications despite still being in use.
"When the inspector reviewed the documented incidents that had occurred in the centre in 2022, further incidents which should have been notified to HIQA were identified. These included two safeguarding incidents and an unexplained absence of a resident from the centre."
At Cork City South 1, where just two people were residing at the time of the inspection, a string of non-compliance was found and many issues raised at a previous inspection had not been addressed.
"There was no live action plan in place, no evidence of review, and no evidence of how the provider was going to come into compliance with the findings," the report said. "The inspector requested a copy of the case reviews, but was advised these were held off-site," Hiqa said.
"It was also noted that another resident was spending a lot of time in their room because of another resident's behaviour and that this resident had high blood pressure and was getting upset."
It also found that staff did not have access to appropriate supervision which they had requested, despite this having been raised as a concern in a previous inspection, and that the person in charge did not notify the chief inspector of incidents in the centre that had an adverse impact on the lived experience of residents.
"These incidents were not followed up and there was no actions to demonstrate how the provider was going to support the other residents," it said. Action plans were issued to address the concerns raised by Hiqa.
A spokesperson for the Cope Foundation said: “Cope Foundation acknowledges the findings of the HIQA report relating to Cork City South 1 and Cork City South 3.
“The organisation has been working to implement the compliance plans as provided to, and accepted, by HIQA. Substantial progress has been made on addressing the issues highlighted since the inspection.
“The organisation has communicated with the families of people supported at both centres. Anyone with concerns should contact their relevant manager.
“Cope Foundation remains fully committed to meeting the ongoing needs of the people it supports.”