Home for disabled children had no care plans for residents

Hiqa report is among first into care standards for minors with disabilities

Up until late last year, residential centres for more than 9,000 adults and children with disabilities had not been subject to independent inspections or care regulations. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Up until late last year, residential centres for more than 9,000 adults and children with disabilities had not been subject to independent inspections or care regulations. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 10:13

Social services inspectors found that a residential centre for vulnerable children with disabilities was in breach of care regulations by failing to draw up any care plans to help meet clients’ individual needs.

The inspection into the Co Cork centre is among the first to be conducted by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) into residential services for children with disabilities.

Independent inspections

Up until late last year, residential centres for more than 9,000 adults and children with disabilities had not been subject to independent inspections or care regulations.

The centre run by the St Joseph’s Foundation was found to be in breach of seven regulations and standards across areas such as children’s care planning, risk management, governance and management, and staff supervision. Among the findings were that:

Children did not have any mandatory personal plans which detailed their individual needs or outlined the supports required to maximise their quality of life;

Measures to safeguard children and protect them from abuse were not sufficiently comprehensive, while there was no evidence of plans around the provision of personal and intimate care;

There was little evidence of multidisciplinary input or involvement of children or their families in the assessment, planning and review process for care services;

Formal staff supervision did not take place, which meant employees were not being supported to improve practice and accountability and was a risk to ensuring a safe, consistent and effective service;

One of the children was in the care of the State and there was no evidence of a statutory care plan or recognition of the centre’s responsibility to participate in care planning;

Only four children were living in the centre on a full-time basis at the time of inspection, each of whom had a moderate to severe intellectual disability.

Overall, inspectors found that children received a service which strove to be child-centred and was delivered by staff committed to enhancing the lives of the children.

Good practice While there was evidence of good practice, inspectors drew up an action plan where improvements were needed in order to comply with care regulations.

In its response to the report, St Joseph’s pledged to take immediate steps to tackle shortcomings identified in the report.

In another inspection, a residential home for children with autism in Co Limerick run by the Rehab Group was found to provide safe care to children using the service.

But it found care plans were not child-centred and there was little evidence of imaginative or stimulating plans, or a vision for ensuring children using the centre were fully involved in activities in their local community.

Separately, inspectors found a centre for children with disabilities run by St John of God Community Services in Kerry did not have a fire safety certificate. While Hiqa said the centre provided safe care and had sufficient staff, work was required in areas such as risk management, health and safety, and fire systems.