Saturday 17 March 2018

Man in care home who had lost use of arms left to smoke alone

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A resident in a home for people with an intellectual disability was left unsupervised with a lit cigarette in his mouth and a fire blanket around him, despite having no mobility in his arms, an inspectors' report has revealed.

The resident in the Cheshire Foundation of Ireland home in Galway was at significant risk, as he also had limited movement in other parts of his body, a report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) revealed.

Prior to the inspectors' visit in July, the resident was given the same fire blanket, which had multiple burn marks on it. But this was replaced in advance of the planned visit. The report said two members of staff were suspended with pay and without prejudice pending the outcome of formal investigations being carried out into allegations of behaving in a disrespectful manner.

Residents said some staff were kind to them, but they were critical of a small number working there.They logged complaints that it took them a long time to come when they called for assistance.

"Residents' rights, dignity and consultation were not adequately upheld in the centre. Complaints were not managed in a robust way and some residents were frustrated that their grievances were not being addressed," the report said.

"Such was some residents' frustrations that on day two of the inspection one resident was refusing to eat or take their medication. Another resident told inspectors they would begin to refuse to get out of bed until their issue was addressed."


The inspectors pointed out that both residents had significant physical disabilities which would have a serious effect on them had they refused to participate in daily life at the centre.

One resident said they had experienced emotional upset, distress and frustration every morning for the past 10 months, while they were supported by a care provision agency they did not trust or want any more.

They lodged a complaint but were very dissatisfied with the level of response. In response to an action plan set out to address the problems, the providers of the home said a number of changes were made. A new safe system was put in place for the resident who wanted to smoke.

All residents have been advised of their right to access an advocate. Since the beginning of July all residents have been individually met on three occasions by the person in charge to consult on their views of the service and allow any issues of concern to be raised.

A service manager in a local office has been delegated to deal with complaints. In response to two ant infestations in two different apartments, a pest control company has been appointed.

Irish Independent

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