Survey reports levels of abuse in nursing and care homes

Hiqa says 63 per cent have witnessed poor provision of service in public health system

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn said it was “unfortunately” still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn said it was “unfortunately” still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Large numbers of people have witnessed physical or emotional abuse in nursing homes and home care services, according to a new survey.

A clear majority of the public – 63 per cent – say they have witnessed poor provision of health and social care services, the survey carried out for the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) shows.

Almost half the population says they have witnessed poor provision in public hospitals, mostly relating to waiting times for access to services.

One in five witnessed poor provision in home care services or nursing homes, according to the Red C survey.

Of those who witnessed poor provision in nursing homes, 36 per cent witnessed physical or emotional abuse. In home care services, 24 per cent of the poor provision related to physical or emotional abuse.

Hiqa, which commissioned the poll to mark its 10th anniversary, said these results were “of particular concern”.

Regulation

The poll also found there was widespread misunderstanding of the areas of health and social care services that are independently regulated or monitored, with 83 per cent of people mistakenly believing private hospitals are independently regulated or monitored and 76 per cent of people believing home care services are independently regulated or monitored.

The survey found overwhelming support for respecting the rights of vulnerable people and for accountability and independent oversight of health and social care services.

Less than two-thirds of people, and just a third of 18-24-year-olds, were aware of Hiqa.

There was also strong support – 88 per cent-plus – for the independent regulation of a range of services.

Chief executive Phelim Quinn said it was “unfortunately” still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services. “Many of the areas where poor provision is witnessed are currently not independently regulated. The poll shows that regulating these services enjoys broad public support. Only through the extension of regulation will we get the safe and effective services that the public desires and deserves,” he said.