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HSE steps in after serious safety concerns for more than 40 people with autism

It follows Hiqa inspections at centres in Meath, Wexford and Kildare.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

THE HSE HAS taken over three residential care centres for people with autism after Hiqa inspections found serious flaws in their management.

The centres had been under the control of the Irish Society for Autism (ISA) and have been inspected by health watchdog Hiqa during the past 18 months.

Prior to the HSE taking responsibility for these centres the ISA had been subject to increased monitoring activity, meetings with Hiqa and warning letters – with it made clear that changes needed to be made.

However, these measures did not result in a “sufficient improvement” and a decision was made to cancel the registration of the three centres.

What were the problems?

The three centres in question are Cluain Farm in Meath, Dunfirth Farm in Kildare and Sarshill House in Wexford.

Between the three a total of 47 residents are housed between the three centres, with the majority (34) situated at Dunfirth Farm.

Dunfirth Farm was inspected five times between January and November 2015.

During the inspections poor outcomes for residents were found in the areas of:

Risk relating to health and safety, risk management, social care needs, safeguarding and safety, governance and management [and] use of resources and workforce.

“Poor managerial oversight and governance arrangements” were also said to be an issue.

At the unannounced inspection of Cluain Farm in Meath it was found that significant improvements that had previously been recommended had not been implemented.

At the centre it was found that there was inappropriate guidance for the use of chemical restraint and safeguarding measures to ensure that residents were protected and felt safe were inadequate.

At the centre in Wexford it was also found that Hiqa recommendations had not been implemented.

Areas of non-compliance at this centre included poor management of staffing resources, poor governance and staff not being adequately trained to meet the needs of the residents.

Read: How a dip in a pool can help open up a new world for children with autism

Also: “I cried”: Cork mother on hearing her triplets had been diagnosed with autism

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