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HSE 'consistently failing' to address problems at Áras Attracta care home

An RTÉ documentary revealed shocking abuse at the Mayo facility in 2014.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated 1.15pm

THE BELEAGUERED ÁRAS Attracta care home may be facing closure as a new report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has found that the HSE is consistently failing to appropriately address a range of issues at the Mayo facility for intellectually disabled adults.

The report, which was based on 14 inspections from July 2015 to May 2017, raises issues with the institutional model of care in Áras Attracta and the home’s care practices.

It also highlights safeguarding issues and  lack of opportunities for residents’ personal development and growth.

The centre was the subject of an RTÉ Prime Time documentary in 2014, which revealed evidence of abuse and prompted a garda investigation that resulted in a number of staff being convicted of assault.

In September Hiqa notified the HSE that it was proposing to cancel the registration of the three centres on the Áras Attracta campus. This would result in the centres being shut down.

After being notified of that decision the HSE was given 28 days to make written representations to the Chief Inspector before a final decision would be made.

The representations outlined the steps the HSE are taking to improve conditions for residents.

Hiqa’s chief inspector will carry out an unannounced inspection to ensure that the changes have been made and a final decision on the registration of the centres will be made by February 2018.

The HSE said that Hiqa has made “very valid findings” in its report.

It said that the best way to resolve the isues raised is to complete the “de-congregation programme” for the facility as quickly as possible.

The programme involves moving people out of the facility into homes of their choosing in the local community. The HSE said the process has been hampered by the housing boom.

While we don’t expect the housing boom to ease off in the foreseeable future, in order to overcome these challenges, we are continuing with our programme of sourcing suitable accommodation through our own estates management unit and through commissioning a number of specialised housing providers.

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The Minister with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, said he is “deeply disappointed” by the report’s findings.

McGrath said his disappointment is heightened because the Department of Health has approved significant additional investment in Áras Attracta over the last two years.

“I have made my views very clear to the HSE. The HSE must now produce a realistic and effective action plan to turn this service around and provide the level of care that the residents and their families are entitled to,” he said.

Earlier this year an inquest into the death of Áras Attracta resident Francis “Albert” Loughney found the 72-year-old was malnourished and severely dehydrated prior to his death.

Loughney, who died at Mayo University Hospital (MUH) in November 2012, had lived in Áras Attracta since 1999.

READ: Man was malnourished and severely dehydrated before death at Áras Attracta>

READ: ‘We are crying out for help’: A father’s letter to the Taoiseach as he battles to keep family home>

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Ceimin Burke

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