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Resident at Dublin disability centre experienced 89 abusive incidents over nine-month period, report finds

St John of God Glasthule centre was found to be not compliant with 10 of the 19 regulations inspected.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

AN INSPECTION REPORT on a south Dublin centre for people with disabilities has found some residents were not protected from abuse, with one person experiencing 89 abusive incidents from January to September last year.

The inspection in September, which was a follow up to risk-based inspection carried out in June, found the abusive incidents occurred as a result of St John of God Glasthule centre’s failure in “supporting residents with behaviours of distress”. 

“Compounding factors included some members of staff not completing training or refresher training in the area of behaviour support and, as previously mentioned, the high numbers of relief staff members employed in the centre, “ The Health Quality and Information Authority (Hiqa) report notes in a new report published today.

The Hiqa inspector found that some residents continued to experience abusive incidents and due to the absence of a response from the registered provider their complaints were not resolved.

The Glasthule centre was non-compliant in 10 of the 19 regulations inspected – from staffing, complaints procedure, general welfare and development, risk management procedures, fire precautions, protection, to residents’ rights. 

Through reviewing documents which catalogued the abusive incidents, the inspector found that some residents were not experiencing a good quality of life in the centre and were not protected from experiencing abuse by the registered provider. 

The report states that some residents were found to have “limited freedom in exercising choice and control over their daily lives” due to the ongoing and significant numbers of incidents of a safeguarding nature which they experienced. 

In addition, the inspector found that the registered provider had not ensured that the centre was operated in a manner which respected the disabilities which some residents experience. These matters were found to negatively impact on the privacy and dignity of residents.

A review of safeguarding measures found that abusive incidents were in the ‘lower-risk categories’ but that the numbers of incidents were “significant”.

“For example, at least 177 incidents were recorded to date in 2019 which involved residents experiencing abuse.”

Some of these incidents include aggressive behaviour, shouting and the use of insulting language towards residents “which were a consequence of behaviours of the distress of other residents”.

The inspector notes that this matter had been identified during the June 2019 inspection of the centre but the plan formulated to address it had not been implemented at the time of the follow-up inspection.  

A review of the governance and management arrangements found the systems in place did not ensure that service delivery was “safe, of a high standard and appropriate to residents’ needs”.

“While the registered provider was aware of the areas of non-compliance with the regulations, the inspector found that appropriate actions had not been taken to ensure that residents were protected and services of a satisfactory standard
were provided.”

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Adam Daly

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