Now we know: A positive agent for change

In the 11 years since it was established to regulate and monitor the quality of residential care in centres for children, older people, or people with disabilities, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has uncovered some unacceptable practices and condemned buildings no longer fit for purpose.

The agency stepped into a role that had not been vigorously discharged but that has changed. Hiqa is an agent for positive change and helped improve the quality of life enjoyed by many of those under its remit.

A new Hiqa report shows that a Dublin centre for people with disabilities had one resident strapped to a chair and that a “sleep suit” was used on another resident at night. The centre, operated by Stewarts Care Ltd, failed on all nine headings of a Hiqa inspection.

This new culture of accountability is wonderful but it puts us in a tight corner — now that we know about these abuses we must confront them with resources or severe sanctions so that can no longer be a part of our care culture.

We can no longer say we didn’t know.

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