Disability service resident had ‘substantial sum’ of money which could not be accounted for, inspection finds

Gardaí were notified of the incident and the facility operator refunded the resident

A “substantial sum” of money belonging to a resident of a disability service in Cork City “could not be accounted for” at the start of the year, an inspection has found.

On Monday, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) published 32 inspection reports of residential facilities for adults with disabilities, with non-compliance in the regulations and standards at almost two thirds of inspections (20) and a good level of compliance in 12 centres.

In a facility run by the Cope Foundation in Cork City, inspectors found the quality and safety of care and support provided in the centre required “significant improvement”.

There were two safeguarding incidents that were not notified to the watchdog, as well as an “unexplained absence of a resident from the centre”.

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The regulations state that these incidents must be notified within three working days of their occurrence; retrospective notifications were submitted following the inspection.

While assessing the record of incidents at the centre, the inspectors found that a large sum of money belonging to a resident was unaccounted for in January 2022.

“It was not documented what, if any follow up actions had been completed as a result of this discovery. When asked, management were not able to inform the inspector or to advise if the resident’s money was found,” the inspection report states.

Following the inspection, the resident’s money was refunded by Cope Foundation and gardaí were notified of the issue. A safe has since been installed in the manager’s office, to which only the management team has access, the facility added.

Inspectors also highlighted noncompliance around staffing and training levels. In some parts of the centre one or two staff regularly supported 11 or more residents.

“These staffing levels were not appropriate to these residents’ assessed and increasing needs,” the report said.

Furthermore, all staff were not trained in required areas. Records available showed 81 per cent of staff required training in fire safety and 62 per cent of the team required training in safeguarding residents and the prevention, detection and response to abuse.

Separately, noncompliance was identified in two centres operated by the Brothers of Charity Services Ireland.

In one centre, improved infection control arrangements were required. In the other centre, improvements were required to the condition of the premises, which was observed to be unclean, with clutter­­ and food leftovers visible throughout the centre.

Two centres operated by the Health Service Executive also required improvements. In one centre, the premises was not suited to residents’ needs, while in the other centre, improvements to staffing and residents’ general welfare and development were required.

Inspectors also observed a number of institutional practices in a Carriglea Cairde Services centre which negatively affected residents’ rights, their privacy and dignity, and their choice and control over decisions relating to their care and support.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times