No senior manager among the 16 staff suspended at Áras Attracta
No senior manager is among the 16 staff suspended in the wake of mounting concern over the care of vulnerable residents in the Áras Attracta centre for people with an intellectual disability, it was confirmed yesterday.
One of the senior staff in the bungalow where RTÉ cameras captured residents being force-fed, kicked and slapped, has since been promoted.
The revelations emerged as a new set of damning reports by inspectors, who made an unannounced visit to the facility in mid-January, heavily criticise standards of care.
Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) spent two days at the home in Co Mayo, which was at the centre of a distressing expose by RTÉ's 'Prime Time' in early December.
Despite HSE pledges to introduce a massive overhaul of how the service was run, the inspectors found:
- Procedures were in place to protect residents from being harmed or suffering abuse but they had not been consistently implemented in all areas of the centre. This included the risk of unauthorised access by members of the public to the living area at night.
- Staffing arrangements were not adequate at times. There were limited opportunities for some residents to participate in social activities. Many residents were sitting in the communal areas for long periods with nothing to do.
- Unsafe medication practices;
- Significant improvements were needed to fire safety, risk management and infection control measures.
- Some areas of the physical environment had not been maintained in a clean and hygienic condition.
- In centre 2, some residents were smoking unsupervised and inspectors saw one resident falling on a wet floor.
- One staff member continually approached a resident, despite being asked by another staff member to allow the resident space.
Noel Giblin, national secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, who previously worked in Áras Attracta, said: "There is still very poor compliance. Clients are supposed to be going swimming but the pool is out of order.
"Staff numbers are poor on night duty with staff leaving one bungalow to go to another. We highlighted this way back in 2007."
Sheila Ryan, whose sister Mary is a resident in the home, said there "is an urgency to deal with this today. There are vulnerable people in there who have nobody to speak for them."
In response, the HSE said in the past three months 27 additional staff are in place, which has increased social activities both on site and in the community.
Medication issues have been responded to with additional training, supervision, new storage ordered, pharmacy oversight and where appropriate psychiatry review of prescriptions.
A dedicated care planning co-ordinator is now in place.
The HSE is finalising an overall plan of improvement work. Key supervisory staff, who had also been rostered for full-time work, are now dedicated to supervisor roles.