Friday 21 October 2016

Whistleblowers speak out on care homes

Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30

A scene from last December’s RTÉ exposé shows a resident of Áras Attracta residential care centre being force-fed by a staff member
A scene from last December’s RTÉ exposé shows a resident of Áras Attracta residential care centre being force-fed by a staff member

Since revelations about the shocking mistreatment of intellectually disabled women at Aras Attracta last December, several whistleblowers have come forward with allegations of abuse at other care homes.

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The complaints were made to the Health Information and Quality Authority. The names of the homes and individuals involved have been withheld.

● A care home staff member suffered intimidation and had their hours cut after reporting safety concerns. Colleagues were administering medication without any training. Staff did not know how to use hoists and a resident was twice hit on the head as a result.

Residents who needed supervision were allowed to walk unaccompanied and suffered falls as a result.

● A care home worker submitted an eight-page list of concerns about the lack of dignity, care and respect afforded to residents.

Staff continually shouted at a resident who would fall asleep at breakfast time. A resident was roughly shaven, like wallpaper being stripped off a wall. Clients were dropped into wheelchairs.

Challenging residents were locked in a unit. Service users had their toilet roll taken away by staff after one resident put rolls down a toilet.

● A former care worker found their employment in a centre "disturbing". Staff gave pain relief injections to cancer sufferers without being qualified to do so. Medication management was "appalling", with drugs not securely stored.

Residents reported being hungry. Staff were vulgar to residents. Care plans were quickly filled in ahead of HIQA inspections.

● A care home staff member said a student on placement had to be removed after becoming upset after witnessing bad practices and abuse.

This included force-feeding, shouting, making clients stay in their chairs, forcing them back into their seat if they moved, not changing incontinence pads, and not showering them.

Restraints were used when giving clients medication.

A carer told a client they were "disgusting" and stank. One client was put in their room for being "too loud".

The quality of meals was "very poor" with "no nutritional value".

There was little interaction with two clients who were kept in the house all day with no activities. One of these really wanted to go out for a walk or a drive. Nobody paid attention.

Clients were shown no dignity while being changed, with doors left open when they were naked or on commodes.

● A worker resigned due to "mismanagement" of a residential centre and understaffing. She suffered injuries after being left on her own to deal with high-dependency service users.

Irish Independent

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