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Concerns raised after residents left for hours without breakfast at disability centre

14 incidents of potential abuse have been identified at Stewarts Care in Dublin.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via Rolling News

AN INSPECTION REPORT on a residential care centre for disabled adults has expressed concern about management failure to take disciplinary action against a member of staff who was accused of misconduct.

Stewarts Care, in Palmerstown, Dublin, provides residential services for 39 residents. Hiqa’s unannounced inspection in July identified 14 incidents of potential abuse at the centre.

The inspection found the service provided was not safe and had failed to ensure that residents were protected from abuse.

Inspectors discovered the misconduct incident when reviewing a file of a staff member against whom the allegation was made. It highlighted that there was no evidence of any disciplinary actions taken by management at Stewarts Care in response to the incident of concern.

In relation to the other 14 incidents of potential abuse, the report identified peer-to-peer physical abuse, unexplained bruising and unexplained injuries to residents.

Inspectors observed residents of the centre requesting to get out of bed but being told they had to wait until after “staff handover”.

Other residents were asking for breakfast at 8am and getting “very frustrated” because they didn’t receive food until 10am.

Healthcare and living condition failures 

Hiqa found that there was an absence of healthcare plans in place for residents.

For example, in the case of a resident with epilepsy, their healthcare plan did not outline a typical seizure or any guidance for staff on how to manage the seizures.

One resident who was identified as having a risk of choking had no review had taken place since August 2015, despite a referral being made in May 2016.

A unit in a shower room used by residents was found to be less than three feet wide and staff told Hiqa that residents regularly needed assistance with showering in this space.

Inspectors found another area had a washing machine and electric dryer in use in the bathroom.

A residents toilet in one centre had no door – a shower curtain was in the place of a door – but inspectors found the staff toilet located next to the resident’s toilet had a door.

In the case of one resident, it was found that personal savings were used to construct an extension to a building and provide the resident with a private bedroom area, an en-suite and a separate sitting room area.

“Other residents in this unit were found to have small bedrooms with very limited space for living and storage,” the report said.

The report also criticised the lack of fire safety within the centre.

Inspectors found that not all staff were aware of the actions to take in the event of a fire.

Read: Fees at centre for residents with autism to be probed over concerns about ‘unknown criteria’

More: ‘Physically and psychologically abusive’ situation reported at Kilkenny care centre

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