Tuesday 17 September 2019

HIQA reports about three Sunbeam House centres

Improvements noted but inspectors raise several concerns

Eimear Dodd

Concern has been raised following the publication of new HIQA reports which detail a number of cases of non-compliance in relation to three units run by Sunbeam House Services in Co Wicklow.

The reports were made public last Tuesday and relate to Hall Lodge in Arklow, Dunavon in Rathdrum and Suaimhneas Respite in Bray.

While HIQA said improvements had been made in all three centres since previous inspections, further improvements were required to strengthen risk management and the safeguarding of residents in two of the centres.

Dunavon, a residential centre in Rathdrum, was found to be non-compliant in four areas, including governance and management of the centre. While the inspectors noted that management systems had improved since the last inspection, a concern was raised about oversight of residents' finances.

In particular, the measures to monitor and protect residents' finances were considered to be 'not robust' by the inspector. A review of a resident's finances requested by the inspector identified a large refund was required 'due to an oversight in the management of their finances.'

The inspector also noted that further improvements were needed to ensure the effective monitoring of the service's quality and safety and to learn from information provided by audits and visits.

The report also raised a concern that the institutional nature of the premises was 'not fully [meeting] residents' assessed health or social care needs.' The inspector suggested that further changes were needed to ensure the centre could meet the needs of all residents and to 'reduce the restrictive nature of the care and support delivered.'

The inspector also had an issue with restrictive practices in place at the centre to ensure residents' safety.

In an action plan, Sunbeam House Services said that the manager of the centre would carry out monthly audits of residents' finances with additional checks to take place when bank statements were received. While it acknowledged the institutional nature of Dunavon, Sunbeam House Services said that 'there was no funding or alternative accommodation available at this time to relocate residents.'

Hall Lodge, a residential and respite unit in Arklow, was found to be non-compliant in two areas including 'premises' as showering facilities were not in place to meet clients' needs. The inspector noted that some residents using respite services could not use the facilities available and 'this resulted in some residents not being able to shower or bath during their stay.' This issue had also been raised following a previous HIQA inspection.

The inspector also had an issue with the level of staffing of the centre. While it was noted that staffing levels had increased, a requirement for additional staffing meant that one resident had limited access to their home, a self-contained apartment beside the main house, during the day.

According to the report, some gaps were also identified in forward planning which was 'resulting in delay for some residents being provided with facilities and living environments that met their individually assessed needs.'

The inspector also raised concerns that some measures in place to reduce risks were restricting residents' choice and control due to a resourcing issue. 'For example, some residents spending long periods of time outside of their home and structured and rigid evening routines.'

An action plan from Sunbeam House Services included with the HIQA report confirmed that funding for works to the bathroom had been agreed and an architect had completed draft plans to refurbish the facilities.

The action plan also said that a business case had been submitted to the HSE for additional funding to support a resident to move in to the apartment and spend more time there.

While the inspectors noted improvement at Suaimhneas, a respite centre in Bray, the report identified the area of 'risk management procedures' as non-compliant. A concern was raised that the record-keeping in relation to risks was not being used effectively to spot 'emerging or possible risks' to residents or staff at the centre. Gaps were also identified in the process for managing the safeguarding of residents at the centre and the amount of information contained within residents' individual care plans.

In a response included with the HIQA report, Sunbeam House Services said that a review of possible risks would take place at regular staff meetings.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Sunbeam House Services Family Advocacy Group expressed concern at the reports.

'It is concerning to read that discrepancies were identified in the management of a client's finances. We feel that more information is needed about the audit practices in place. Additionally, it is also concerning to see that buildings were described as not fit for purpose,' the group said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Sunbeam House Services said, 'Sunbeam House Services acknowledges the findings of the reports published.

'We accept the findings and wish to assure those who we support, their families and other stakeholders of our continuing efforts to ensure full compliance as soon as possible.

'Sunbeam House Services is in discussion with the HSE on any issues that are resource related.'

Wicklow People