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Six disability centres found non-compliant in protecting residents against infection

HIQA has raised concerns with unsatisfactory measures in place to prevent the spread of infections.

Image: Shutterstock/Hananeko_Studio

SIX CENTRES FOR adults with disabilities have been recorded as “not compliant” with regulations on protection against infection, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has found.

Several of the centres were found to have insufficient measures in place to protect residents against infection, particularly with regards to protection against Covid-19.

HIQA has published its findings today after carrying out inspections of disability centres operated by Camphill Communities of Ireland.

Inspections were carried out on ten of the provider’s centres between June and August earlier this year, which have identified “significant concerns regarding the very poor compliance levels with the regulations and national standards found on these inspections”.

HIQA said that “in particular, the Chief Inspector was concerned regarding governance and management, protection, financial safeguarding, staffing and protection against infection”.

“These non-compliances were having a significant impact on the safety and quality of care being delivered to the residents living in these centres.”

Among the ten centres, six were found to be not compliant with regulations on protection against infection. Three were found to be compliant, and one was considered substantially compliant.

HIQA found that Camphill Community Duffcarrig in Wexford had “not ensured that procedures and practices were in place that were consistent with national guidance for the prevention and control of infection during a public health emergency”.

In Tipperary, residents who were identified as being at a high risk of infection in Carrick on Suir Camphill Community were found living in accommodation that was “not clean, hygienic, or ventilated”.

Additionally, guidance for the use of face masks in the centre was found at times to not be in line with national guidance.

HIQA said that urgent action needed to be taken in the centre to address the need to protect against infection.

Additionally, the Camphill Community Ballybay centre in Monaghan had ‘failed to ensure that there were suitable safeguards in place to mitigate the risk of an outbreak of an infectious disease in the centre’.

At Camphill Ballymoney in Wexford, HIQA found that the provider’s guidance on the use of face masks was not in line with national guidance, and that staff were not seen observing best practices in the use of PPE while they were supporting the centre’s residents.

Similarly, measures had been implemented to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at Camphill Community Grangemockler in Tipperary, but inspectors found that the use of face masks at times did not adhere to national guidance. The centre was “visibly clean” and considered to be “substantially compliant”.

In Kildare at The Bridge Community, HIQA found that “systems in place to protect residents against infection were unsatisfactory and were not always in line with current health guidance or with the National Standards for infection prevention and control in community services”.

“Under this regulation the provider was required to submit an urgent compliance plan to address an urgent risk. The provider’s response did provide assurances that the risk was adequately addressed,” HIQA wrote in its report.

Camphill Community Kyle in Kilkenny had measures in place to protect against Covid-19, but concerns were raised around raw meat and a lack of appropriate storage, cleaning and temperature and date checks needed to protect residents from health-care associated infections.

The centres have been required to supply HIQA with a plan of actions that have been taken, or will be taken, to put them in compliance with regulations.

For protection against infection, the several centres said that they had, or would, issue refresher training or online learning for staff on the use of masks and infection control.

In a statement, the CEO of Camphill Communities of Ireland, Ann Sheehan, said that the issues raised by the HIQA inspections were being “attended to as a matter of urgency”, and that many had already been addressed.

Sheehan said that service users and their families had been briefed on the issues that HIQA raised and how the centres were addressing them. 

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“In broad terms, the issues of non-compliance highlighted by HIQA are around staffing, governance/administration and protection. These are important matters and are being attended to as a matter of urgency,” Sheehan said.

“Thankfully, HIQA have found – by and large – that our community members are happy with the service and we know from our recent meetings that the families are too.”

Camphill Jerpoint and Camphill Community Callan, both in Kilkenny, and Camphill Community Dingle were found to be complaint with regulations on protection against infection.

The inspections also found non-compliancy in centres on a number of other concerns, including staffing, records, management, written policies, the handling of personal possessions,  risk management, fire precautions, and residents’ rights.

HIQA’s chief inspector issued a formal warning to CCI on 8 September in relation to seven centres that it operates.

“Furthermore, the provider was required to attend a meeting with the Deputy Chief Inspector to discuss the significant concerns at the level of non-compliance in its centres,” HIQA said.

“Camphill Communities of Ireland was then required to submit a comprehensive six-month national governance improvement plan to address the substantive failings identified in their services and to improve the quality of service being provided to residents,” it said.

“Inspectors will monitor the implementation of this six-month plan and will undertake inspections to ensure improvements are made for the safety of services for residents.”

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