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Mixed gender dormitories and bathrooms at Stewarts Care flagged as 'serious issues'

HIQA also flagged an issue with children being kept in adult units.

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MIXED GENDER DORMITORIES at a centre for people with intellectual disabilities has been branded as a ‘significant issue of concern’ by HIQA.

The health watchdog carried out inspections at Stewarts Care Ltd in Palmerstown, Dublin, after a number of staff were suspended at the facility over allegations of abuse and neglect.

These staff were later reinstated when no allegations of abuse were found.

The institution operates residential services for 300 people, and a number of day services for twice that number.

HIQA carried out an announced inspection in February, during which they raised “the accommodation of children in adult houses and the mixed gender dormitories” as “significant issues of concern”.

The centre has committed to addressing both issues.

“The physical layout of the mixed gender wards and the bathrooms in some houses do not support good practice in protecting residents,” the inspector said.

Some staff correctly articulated their discomfort with these arrangements. Other factors included the lack of suitable locks on toilet and bathrooms doors with two showers contained in one bathroom and the use of inappropriate utensils for eating.

During an announced inspection, HIQA praised certain aspects of the centre as ‘overall residents were comfortable and content in their homes’.

However, concerns were raised over the ability of staff to draw up activity and care plans for some patients.

In one home, a patient who had difficulty in walking up stairs had no access to a bathroom on the level they were on.

A number of issues with risk assessments being carried out were also flagged, including over the use of restraints, and also with inconsistent or a lack of rationale for staffing levels.

Read: Health inspectors find ‘dirty’ mattresses and ‘soiled’ flooring at Waterford Regional Hospital >

More: TD calls for government response to suspensions at Stewarts Care >

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Nicky Ryan

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