Monday 22 July 2019

HIQA finds care centre in breach of regulations

Margaret Roddy

A HIQA report into a Co Louth residential care centre for nine adults with disabilities found that it didn't comply with regulations regarding fire safety and that there were problems with the buildings.

The report, published on the HIQA website last week, followed an unannounced inspection on February 20 last at the centre on which is run by St John of God Community Services Company Ltd.

The centre comprises of two detached bungalows providing residential services to nine adults with disabilities. The houses are in close proximity to each other and in commuting distance to a number of nearby villages and larger towns.

While the report was very positive in its findings regarding the care and support which the residents receive, noting: 'Residents appeared happy and content and were seen to be comfortable and at home in the presence of management and staff' it was found to be non-compliant in two areas.

In regards to firm safety, the inspector found that 'There were systems in place to ensure all fire fighting equipment was serviced annually or as required. A sample of documentation informed the inspector that staff undertook as required checks on all fire fighting equipment in the house. Fire drills were carried out on a regular basis and each resident had a personal emergency evacuation plan in place.'

It was observed that on the most recent fire drill, one resident refused to evacuate the centre however, their personal emergency evacuation plan had not been updated to reflect this. When this was brought to the attention of the person in charge they assured the inspector that the plan would be updated as a priority.

The inspector also noted that the centre did not have a fire alarm system that was integrated throughout the house and residents bedrooms did not have fire doors installed. In turn, the inspector was not assured that there were adequate systems in place for the detecting and containment of fire.

It was also noted that 'While the premises appeared warm and welcoming some issues were identified which directly impacted on residents' quality of life.' The driveway in one of the houses was in a poor state of repair and the surface was uneven. This posed a risk as it made it difficult for residents who used wheelchairs to safely access the wheelchair bus to the front of the house. The inspector also observed that in the other house there was limited room for residents to see visitors in private.

The report concluded that 'Overall, residents reported to the inspector that there were very happy with the service, feedback informed they felt adequately supported, and that their health and social care needs were being comprehensively provided for.' However, it was found to be non-compliant in respect of the issues found with both premises and fire safety.

As required the service provider responded to the issues raised, informing HIQA of the measures being taking to address the areas of non-compliance.

Regarding fire precautions they stated that additional fire doors were installed and that all fire doors and fire detectors will be integrated into the fire system.

It was planned to install a suitable surface on the driveway at the front of house. 'Current visitors practice is to congregate in the communal area and engage with all residents and staff, however if they wish to conduct their visit in private, the sitting room is always made available.'

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