Residents in disability centre found locked in and unsupervised

Centre in Co Louth non-compliant in nine of 10 categories during April inspection

Residents of a Co Louth centre for people with disabilities were repeatedly locked into the bungalow unsupervised, an inspection has found

Residents of a Co Louth centre for people with disabilities were repeatedly locked into the bungalow unsupervised, an inspection has found

 

Residents of a Co Louth centre for people with disabilities were repeatedly locked into the bungalow unsupervised, an inspection has found.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) carried out two separate inspections of two units in Saint Mary’s residential disability centre in Drumcar, Co Louth run by St John of God North East Community Services.

The first inspection of the two bungalows, catering for up to 16 men with moderate, severe and profound intellectual disabilities, took place in February.

It identified a number of issues including inadequate staffing levels, concerns that the qualifications and skill-mix of staff was inappropriate and fire safety concerns.

Inspectors witnessed a resident hitting his own face and saw one resident strike another on the back while no staff members were on hand.

An improvement notice was issued to the provider on March 23rd.

Shortly after this Hiqa was made aware of an allegation that a staff member had a physically assaulted a resident at the centre, a report on which was submitted to it on April 2nd.

It is understood the incident has been referred to gardaí for investigation and that the staff member in question has been placed off duty.

Unannounced inspections were subsequently carried out between April 7th and April 14th at which time the centre housed between 14 and 15 residents.

Inspectors found ineffective leadership, governance and management arrangements were leading to “consistent, repeated and continual failings”.

Inspectors said one of the two bungalows were locked and residents left unaccompanied while a staff nurse went to the other unit to administer medicines “on a number of occasions”.

A review of documented falls among residents in the period between January 1st and April 14th 2015 recorded 59 incidents involving over two-thirds of the residents. Five had fallen five or more times in that period.

Despite this vulnerable residents were left unsupervised on a number of occasions during the week in which the second round of inspections took place.

It found some residents were inappropriately placed resulting in negative outcomes for others with residents recorded hitting and biting other residents on an almost daily basis.

The report found the premises did not meet the needs of residents due to a lack of space.

St John of Gods Services responded to the inspection report on April 20th 2015, but Hiqa found the action plan was “not satisfactory”.

A revised plan was submitted on May 17th 2015 which detailed steps to be taken within specified timeframes including the relocation of one resident and plans to relocate others later this month.

In a statement the HSE said St John of God Services fully accepted the improvements identified and said a new management structure had already been put in place.

“Recruitment campaigns have taken place. Suitably qualified and experienced staff will be recruited to deliver the person centred model of service...necessary to appropriately meet the needs of each resident living in Saint Mary’s, Drumcar”.