Abuse allegations not followed up at center for people with mental disabilities, says Hiqa – The Irish Times


Residents of a center for people with mental disabilities complained of “multiple incidents of verbal and physical abuse between peers”, according to a new inspection report.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) inspection of the premises of St Michael’s House known as B Middle Third in Ballygall, Co Dublin, revealed that not all incidents among residents had been notified to the chief inspector or local safeguard teams.

Inspectors found that the centre’s backup documentation and records were not properly maintained. Many incidents were not recorded on incident report forms, but were typed up by staff and stored in a separate file. Some of them were neither signed nor dated.

Inspectors concluded: “This meant that practices around recording and reporting incidents were inconsistent. This resulted in the vendor not being able to properly assess the frequency and impact of protection events. Where incidents of abuse had been reported, the provider had back-up plans in place. However, these were ineffective as incidents of peer abuse continued to occur on a regular and more frequent basis.

There were only two residents at B Middle Third when the inspectors called. One of them told the inspector that he “couldn’t take it anymore” and that the staff had done nothing about the abuse.

Despite being notified in writing in January this year of the abuse, management had, according to inspectors, ‘failed in their responsibility to protect residents’.

‘The impact of this was that residents experienced peer-to-peer abuse which left them upset and impacted on their rights for an extended period of time.’

Staff told the two residents they were going to be moved, but they were not told where they would be going.

There was no evidence of a wellness review and care plan experienced by the resident in the last 12 months, inspectors found.

Inspectors said an urgent review of security procedures at the center needed to be carried out and management agreed to this.

When asked for a comment, St Michael’s House said it “takes note of the findings” of the report.

“The response to the inspections, mentioned in the report, was treated as an immediate priority. Compliance plans were urgently implemented and all non-compliances noted in the reports have since been addressed,” he said.

“St Michael’s House continues to work closely with the HSE and Hiqa to ensure that high quality, safe and efficient services are provided to all of our service users.”

Hiqa released the results of 26 inspections of designated centers for people with disabilities. It found a good level of compliance with regulations and standards in 11 centers operated by a number of providers, including facilities run by St Michael’s House, St John of God, Stewarts Care Limited and the Rehab Group.

He found particular examples of good care at St John of God’s facility, Lakeview Priorstate, County Louth, where residents were supported to lead active, fulfilling lives and encouraged to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Inspectors identified instances of non-compliance at four centers run by St John of God. Two centers had to improve their premises to improve the quality of life of residents, while the other two centers did not comply with admissions and the contract for the provision of services. A center also needed to improve in terms of governance, management and infection protection.

In five reports published on centers operated by Stewarts Care Limited, improvements were needed in relation to fire precautions, infection protection, staff training and development, individual assessment and personal plan, and communication.


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