Monday 26 September 2016

Judge bans HSE-run home for people with disabilities from admitting new residents

Published 15/12/2015 | 00:00

Judge Terence Finn ruled that St Raphael’s facility in Youghal, Co Cork, is unfit for purpose after a series of damning Hiqa reports. Stock picture
Judge Terence Finn ruled that St Raphael’s facility in Youghal, Co Cork, is unfit for purpose after a series of damning Hiqa reports. Stock picture

A HSE-run home for people with disabilities has been prohibited from admitting new occupants to its residential centre after an unprecedented ruling from a district court judge.

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Judge Terence Finn ruled that St Raphael's facility in Youghal, Co Cork, is unfit for purpose after a series of damning Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) reports.

The watchdog carried out nine inspections of the centre in recent months and found a number of safety and quality of care breaches at the unit.

Following the findings, Judge Finn ordered the HSE to provide alternative placements for more than 30 residents of the centre within 10 months. Last month's ruling has come to the fore after the publication of recent inspections at the 80-bed facility.

On November 6, the body took what has been described as an unprecedented step of having the courts intervene in the operations of the centre, where three units for people with disabilities were scrutinised. These included St Raphael's Residential Centre, and Oakvale and Youghal community hostels. A fourth entity related to the campus, Youghal Community Houses, is not affected by the action.

During the inspections, officers found poor practices that were increasing the risk to the safety and well-being of residents. They also found a lack of awareness among staff and local management about the negative impact they were having on the rights of residents.

The first of the probes was launched in March following allegations that a resident had been abused by a staff member.

Training records uncovered during the inspection indicated that only one member of staff had received correct training in relation to the protection of vulnerable adults.

Other findings included residents being woken at 7.15am to suit staffing routines, instances of unexplained bruising, and financial abuse in the campus's Youghal Community Hostels.

Hiqa says it uncovered evidence of frequent physical altercations between residents and one staff member. The HSE has begun implementing a plan for improved governance and accountability at the centre.

Irish Independent

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