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'Bungalow Three as we saw it then does not exist anymore' - Áras Attracta report published

The findings of the panel of specialists set up to examine the care centre are being published today.

Updated at 2pm

aras1 65-year-old Mary Garvan, who featured in the RTÉ Prime Time report.

THE HSE HAS apologised to residents of the Áras Attracta care home in Co Mayo, and said that staff “from all grades of management” were facing disciplinary proceedings.

It comes as the findings of the independent review group into the home are published today.

“I’d like to apologise to the residents and their relations on behalf of myself and the staff of Áras Attracta,” the HSE’s chief officer for Galway Mayo and Roscommon Tony Canavan said today at a press conference to announce the findings of the Review Group.

It was also confirmed that the HSE plan to move residents from the care home to community living – where they can choose where they live and who they live with.

The centre was the subject of controversy following an RTÉ Investigations Unit probe for Prime Time, broadcast in December 2014, into the standard of care at the facility which highlighted poor standards and the abuse of patients.

The RTÉ investigation ‘Inside Bungalow Three’ saw a researcher sent to do work experience at the facility in Swinford for three weeks. She secretly filmed her time there.

The footage showed three residents at the facility being slapped, kicked, pulled around, prodded, hit with keys, and otherwise roughly treated.

Medical experts who contributed to the report described the mental anguish inflicted on the residents as “entirely unacceptable” and “atrocious”.

“Bungalow Three as we saw it then does not exist anymore,” the HSE’s National Director of Social Care Pat Healy said today, explaining that the centre had been split into three, and the management structure had since changed.

The recommendations 

The HSE’s independent panel of experts was appointed within a month of the initial broadcast – and is made up of specialists in the fields of intellectual disability, the protection of vulnerable people and change management.

It released three key recommendations for the Co Mayo centre today. In summarised form, they are:

  • Transition to community living This will involve moving residents of Áras Attracta out of the care facility and into ‘community living’ or domestic buildings where they can choose where they live and who they live with.
  • Listening to residents A ‘family forum’ has been established in Áras Attracta and in other care centres to help ensure that the opinions of residents, their families and advocates are heard by management
  • Management and leadership An “important recommendation emerging from the review” was a change in management at Áras Attracta. Tony Canavan confirmed at the press conference today that the care centre staff “from all grades of management” were facing disciplinary proceedings from the HSE

Following on from the Áras Attracta review, the HSE also announced a nationwide plan to move care facilities away from ‘congregated settings’ and towards a more domestic lifestyle but also under supervision.

Pat Healy confirmed that €100 million had been “earmarked for this specific programme” between now and 2021.

He added that both residents and staff had been “institutionalised” and that life for residents had been “characterised by inactivity”, with no learning or development in place.

Reporting by Cianan Brennan, Gráinne Ní Aodha and Daragh Brophy. Comments have been disabled as legal proceedings connected with this article are ongoing. 

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