Saturday 3 December 2016

HSE takes over the running of three residential centres for people with autism after HIQA finds serious failings

Published 11/07/2016 | 13:47

An unannounced inspection of Cluain Farm followed a notification of significant incidents of concern leading to injuries to residents. Photo: PA
An unannounced inspection of Cluain Farm followed a notification of significant incidents of concern leading to injuries to residents. Photo: PA

The HSE has had to take over the running of three residential centres for people with autism after the patient safety watchdog Hiqa found serious failings.

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The centres were run by the Irish Society for Autism until the watchdog cancelled their registration in recent months.

Some 47 adult residents with autism were resident in the the three farm-based centres at Cluain Farm, Kilwarden and Dunfirth Farm near Johnstown in Co Meath and Sarshill House in Co Wexford.

They were visited on several occasions by Hiqa in the last year and a half.

Inspectors who visited the Wexford Centre in April were particularly concerned that there were inadequate measures to protect residents from serious physical assault by other residents.

They pointed out that many agency staff who were not aware that there had been a serious injury.

When they there quizzed by the inspectors they were  not trained in the protection of vulnerable adults.

The inspectors found inappropriate guidance in the use of chemical restraint in Dunfirth Farm.There were also not enough behaviour support plans.

An unannounced inspection of Cluain Farm followed a notification of significant incidents of concern leading to injuries to residents.

The inspectors found  major non-compliances including inadequate safeguarding measures to ensure residents were protected from assault.

There were ongoing risks to residents that were not being appropriately managed or responded to.

And they highlighted poor governance and oversight leading to negative outcomes for residents.

Hiqa said the  provider was offered a number of opportunities to address the failings identified. Hiqa instigated escalated action including; increased monitoring activity, provider meetings and warning letters.

This did not result in sufficient improvement and resulted in the Chief Inspector issuing a Notice of Decision to Cancel and Refuse the registration of the three centres.

The provider appealed the decision to the district court in the case of two of the centres. Subsequently the provider withdrew these appeals in court and the Health Service Executive (HSE) was directed to take charge of these centres. The provider did not appeal the notice in relation to the third centre and the HSE was also directed to take charge of this centre.

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