Inspector reports ‘alarming’ findings at Tipperary disability home

Mattress protector stained with fecal matter, strong odour of urine and heavily stained bedsheets among report findings

A mattress protector stained with fecal matter, a strong odour of urine, heavily stained bedsheets, mould on ceilings and a lack of hand soap and toilet paper were among the “alarming” findings at a Co Tipperary centre for adults with disabilities.

A report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), published on Wednesday, finds management at St Anne’s Residential Services Group H in Roscrea “had failed to demonstrate the capacity and capability to provide safe and quality care for the residents”.

The centre, operated by the Avista charity and home to up to six adults, was found to be non-compliant with all 10 regulations inspected during an unannounced visit on February 22nd of last year.

The examination was to last one day but what inspectors found was so “concerning” they “took the unusual but necessary step of returning for a second day” on February 25th to ensure immediate steps were being taken to address their concerns.

“Every room in the designated centre presented as visibly unclean with high levels of dust, dirt, mould and cobwebs observed throughout.”

In one bedroom inspectors observed “a stained mattress protector with fecal matter and a heavily stained bed sheet”.

“One resident’s en suite bathroom presented with a strong malodour of urine, fecal matter on tissues, rusting pipes, stained flooring on the resident’s bath and a thick layer of dust/dirt on the windows.”

The premises was “in a state of disrepair”, “sparsely decorated with very few of the residents’ personal belongings” and “did not promote residents’ dignity”.

During the inspection there were four residents, two of whom had limited verbal capabilities. One, asked if they liked living here said, “No” and that their peer shouted a lot. Another, asked if they liked their room, responded, “No”.

Staff shortages on the first day meant residents spent “prolonged periods … waiting to be supported to access the community”.

One resident, who had put on their coat to leave, was told it wasn’t their turn to go out. They were “observed standing in the … porch and looking out the window for long periods during the remainder of the … day”.

The “very poor state and standard” of the centre “of significant concern in itself” says the report, “but furthermore the provider had not identified this themselves”. Cleaning schedules, described as a “most basic requirement in terms of hygiene” were not maintained. “In the midst of a pandemic, the poor standards observed in this centre were alarming.”

Concerns are raised about fire doors not closing properly; over-restrictive rules about access to the kitchen and food, and residents “not being adequately facilitated access to psychiatric medical treatment and support”.

On the second day a cleaning company was on site deep-cleaning, maintenance workers were present and a skip had arrived.

The report includes measures Avista says will address the issues. In a statement, Hiqa said: “A notice of proposed decision to cancel the centre’s registration was issued to the provider following the inspection. The provider has since made representation setting out further planned improvements, as is its right under the Health Act 2007, as amended. Inspectors continue to closely monitor the centre”.