Monday 19 August 2019

Inspectors find 14 incidents of 'potential abuse' at Dublin disability centre

Hiqa (stock image)
Hiqa (stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Inspectors found 14 incidents of potential abuse at the Dublin centre for people with a disability, according to a new report.

The incidents came to light during an inspection of Centre 3 in Stewarts’ Adults Services, Palmerstown during an inspection by Hiqa.

They included peer to peer physical abuse, unexplained bruising to residents, and unexplained injuries.

There was a complete absence of appropriate follow up in any of the 14 incidents and safeguarding plans were not in place at the time of inspection, said the Hiqa report.

Some residents were observed requesting to get out of bed but being told they had to wait until after ‘staff handover’.

Inspectors observed some of these residents getting very frustrated and not receiving their breakfast until 10am.

Inspectors found that preventative measures in place to protect residents from some forms of abuse were inadequate, including care of their finances.

One staff member spoken with at the time of inspection was unable to identify the designated safeguarding officer, and was not fully aware of the actions to take in the event of witnessing or suspecting abuse.

There was a policy in place but inspectors were not assured that this policy was guiding practice.

Floors were being mopped by cleaning staff at 9am when residents with unsteady gait (assessed as at risk of slips, trips and falls) were getting up and moving around the centre.

Inspectors found that in one unit staff did not know each other or the residents as they were caring for.

Some areas of the centre were found to be clinical and sterile in nature and lacked personalisation for residents.

A separate inspection report of Centre 5 in the same complex found 16 incidents which potentially met with the definition of abuse.

In the case of one resident who was distressed, inspectors found they did not get breakfast until 11.25am.

The providers of the centre have been given an action plan which will be followed up and monitored by Hiqa.

The Board of Stewarts Care acknowledges the publication today (Tuesday, 14 November, 2017) of reports by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in respect of the inspection in July this year of two centres operated by Stewarts Care at its Palmerstown, Dublin campus.

In response a spokesman for Stewarts Care said it puts quality of care and the needs of its residents at the very top of its priority list.

“Regrettably the inspections reported today found we did not meet the standards we have set ourselves and which we accept are required and appropriate.

“Over the past six months Stewarts Care, led by its board, has engaged with a significant process of change in the governance and operation of all its services.

“These changes are significantly advanced but are still in progress. They address both the specific issues raised by these reports and underpin a reinforced commitment across Stewarts Care services for the benefit of all service users,” he said.

The spokesman said it has been in active dialogue with its key stakeholders – service users, their families and guardians, staff and the HSE – on the detail of that programme from its outset.

“We recognise and accept the need for change and are fully committed to completing the planned response programme.”

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