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21 reports of abuse in a month prompts inspection of Dublin disabilities centre

Hiqa inspected Ashington Centre, Dublin 7 after reports of physical and verbal abuse of residents.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/

AN INSPECTION FROM Hiqa identified a range of concerns at a Dublin 7 centre for people with disabilities, after it received 21 notifications of abuse there over the course of a month.

Inspectors visited the Ashington Group, run by the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, unannounced to assess the running of the centre after it had sought and received assurances that residents were being adequately safeguarded.

There were only 10 residents on site at the time of the inspection.

When they arrived, however, Hiqa said that some members of management had actually expressed relief because they had been “concerned about the situation for both residents and staff members”.

Among the problems identified included “staffing arrangements” not suiting the needs of patients, management systems which “did not ensure the delivery of safe and quality services” and some incidences of “physical, psychological and verbal abuse”.

In terms of management, there was no one person responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre, Hiqa identified.

Hiqa said that residents and their families had expressed their concerns, particularly, about the abuse allegations, at the centre.

Between 7 October and 2 November 2016, 21 incidents were notified for eight residents. It was noted that “a number of incidents with residents occurred in the early hours of or during the night period”.

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The report went on:

The inspector spoke with a resident, who to date has experienced a number of abusive incidents. Though she acknowledged the measures that the provider had taken in recent days to reduce the safeguarding risks, she was still worried about the future situation in her home.

Over reliance on agency staff and training gaps in some crucially important areas such as fire safety, first aid and the Heimlich manoeuvre were also identified.

Hiqa recommended that staff get appropriate training to support residents that “engaged in behaviour that was challenging”.

A range of measures were also proposed to protect residents from abusive incidents which included a review of staffing to include one staff member per resident day and night and a weekly review of incidents that take place.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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