Tuesday 20 November 2018

'Housing boom' is holding up transfer of residents from Áras Attracta centre

Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Áras Attracta in Co Mayo. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The "housing boom" is being blamed for holding up the urgent need to transfer residents from the HSE-run Áras Attracta disability campus in Mayo which is at the centre of another damning report.

Residents of the large campus are still at risk of harm - three years after a television expose showed some of them being mistreated in one of its bungalows, a report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) revealed.

It gave the HSE until February to improve standards of care and move more residents to suitable community homes or else it risks losing its registration.

This is unlikely to lead to closure because of the disruption to residents, but it would plunge the HSE into a critical legal situation.

Tony Canavan, the HSE's chief officer in the region, admitted progress had been slow in the past 18 months in acquiring, and converting suitable accommodation in the community due to the housing boom.

"By the end of 2017, it is anticipated that 16 people will have moved to their own homes in the community and preparation is well advanced to facilitate a further 20 residents to move in 2018," he said.

"We will continue to work with residents, their families and staff to ensure services continue to improve on site while making this transition."

Failure

The inspectors' report said over the course of 14 inspections from July 2015 to May 2017, inspectors found evidence of the HSE's failure to ensure processes were implemented to safeguard residents from harm and abuse.

Meanwhile, Hiqa also found the HSE used €9,000 of savings belonging to residents to buy them tablet computers. Managers at Áras Attracta did not ask residents, relatives or their representatives about spending the money, the watchdog said.

Hiqa also found no proof that the tablets were of any use to the residents. Each tablet cost €433, and the money was taken from residents' personal accounts.

"Due to an absence of appropriate assessments, it could not be demonstrated that this type of assistive technology would benefit any of the residents or assist them to communicate," Hiqa said. "In addition, it was noted that the expenditure of residents' money to purchase these tablet computers had not been discussed appropriately with either the residents or their representatives."

The HSE said some residents took up an offer of a refund when it emerged not all of them wanted the tablet. "The tablets were bought with good intentions to enable residents to access a number of applications," a spokeswoman said.

Irish Independent

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