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Health watchdog had "grave concerns" over disability centre

The centre in Offaly was given an immediate care order.

Image: Wheelchair via Shutterstock

INSPECTORS AT AN Offaly centre for people with disabilities had “grave concerns” over the treatment of residents.

The findings of a HIQA report into a centre run by Offaly Centre for Independent Living was issued with an immediate care plan after HIQA staff visited, saying that they were “very concerned” by the non-compliance across all areas inspected.

The report finds problems under 15 headings.

Rights and dignity

The report says that the five residents were only afforded transport on Wednesdays, that mealtimes were set in accordance with a neighbouring hospital and that residents who required hoists were forced to be in bed by 10pm and could not get out of bed until a second staff member came into work in the morning.

Residents also complained that bedrooms had multiple entrances and a lack of privacy.

Social Care

The report says that there was no criteria for admissions and discharges. It adds that there was a poor approach to keeping record and the discharge system was unplanned.

For example, on the second day of inspection one resident who was due to attend for respite the following Monday, was contacted and told that he could no longer avail of respite. Staff told inspectors that this individual would have to be re-assessed before he could come back to the designated centre. Staff did not give a clear reason as to why or how this decision was made.

Premises

The centre itself was found to be in poor shape and did not have appropriate equipment.

  • The front garden was overgrown and unkempt. The ground surface was uneven and damaged and did not promote ease of access for residents with mobility difficulties.
  • The internal building was in need of decorative repair. Paint work was cracked and damaged, furnishings were outdated, and not all bedrooms had curtains
  • The dining area consisted of a high table and high stools, which was not adequately accessible for all residents with mobility difficulties
  • Inspectors observed wheelchair users having difficulties in opening doors in the building
  • Residents expressed difficulty in locking the bathroom doors for privacy

Health care waste bins were used around the centre and residents were fed hospital food.

Health and Safety

The inspectors were particularly worried about health and safety at the centre. They say:

  • There was a risk of harm due to lack of an appropriate evacuation plan and staffing to ensure safe egress in the event of an emergency
  • There was a risk of slips/ trips or falls due to uneven and damaged ground surfaces and the storage of tools/ hoses in the garden and entrance way to the building
  • Security and safeguarding was a risk, as was infection control
  • There was a risk of self harm for residents who presented with suicidal thoughts
  • There were medication errors and mismanagement of medication by residents who self administered, due to a lack of effective assessments and review
  • The centre had inadequate epilepsy care, wound management and falls management which will be further discussed under outcome 11 healthcare needs

The report found problems with medication, governance, healthcare needs, food, and records management.

HIQA gave the centre an action plan, most of which was due to be acted upon by September.

HIQA said that they had received a plan from the centre on what steps would be taken to right the problems and that this gave them “some assurances”.

Read: Dignity of elderly compromised after being transported down corridors on commodes

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