Care home run by HSE was fire trap - damning report
Several residents with an intellectual disability were confined for months to a facility which was found to be a fire risk, a damning report has revealed.
HSE-run Cregg House near Ballincar in Sligo is home to 108 residents, including some children with an intellectual disability.
It was found to be very understaffed, leaving residents with little social involvement with the outside community and little stimulation.
Inspectors who visited two units, which were part of the congregated facility, in January issued two immediate actions - one relating to staffing levels and another involving fire risks.
Doors separating two units were not adequate to prevent the spread of fire, while four water hoses needed replacement or decommissioning.
These were among a litany of serious concerns found by inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) during a series of visits between last December and April.
The inspectors also visited the area where children were cared for, and found that they sometimes had to stay in bed until lunchtime because of a lack of staff.
They were also regularly late for school for the same reason.
The inspectors also found there was overuse of strong medications to curb the behaviour of the residents .
One resident was given this medication as a form of restraint on 13 occasions in the months before the inspection.
One nurse told the inspectors it was better to give the resident the drugs at the beginning of an outburst because otherwise "it could go on for two hours."
"Some staff did not have any training in mandatory areas such as fire safety, manual handling, infection control or managing challenging behaviour," the report stated.
Cregg House was taken over from an order of nuns by the HSE three years ago following a dispute over funding.
In response to the report, the HSE, which has been given an action plan, said it was working to address all the issues.
Paddy Connolly of Inclusion Ireland, the disability advocacy group, said the report highlighted the ongoing living conditions of people in congregated settings. He said 3,000 live in similar settings and just 150 will move to modern residential care this year. A small number also moved last year.