Disability centre resident tells of sharing bedroom with 20 people - Hiqa report

State healthcare watchdog met with 80 residents of disabilty services to discuss their lives and experiences

A former resident of a campus-based disability service told the State’s health watchdog that they shared a bedroom with 20 other people before they moved into a new home in the community.

The resident “became upset when speaking about their time in their previous home”, a report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) says.

A separate former resident of a campus-based setting said moving into a new home in the community was the “first time in 50 years that they had their own bedroom”.

The report, published on Tuesday, outlines what 80 residents of disability services told Hiqa during 22 online meetings about their lives, experiences and the inspection process last year.


Those who had previously lived in campus-based settings told inspectors that life was “far more positive” for them since moving to new homes in the community.

“They told us that they preferred the community setting, and welcomed the freedom these homes offered,” the report said.

However, some said the decision for them to move to a new home had been made by their family members, “without them being consulted”, it said.

“In some cases, the move happened so quickly for some residents that they felt they did not have the opportunity to be consulted,” Hiqa said

Residents said one of things they liked most about their new homes in the community was having their own wardrobe and how much it meant to them that they now had a place of their own to store their belongings.

“Residents spoke about the privacy that their new homes offered them. This was something that many residents did not have while living in larger institutionalised type settings,” the report said.

During one focus group meeting, Hiqa said a resident became upset when speaking about their time in their previous home, where they shared a bedroom with 20 other residents.

“We heard how this resident had just bought a TV for their new bedroom, in a home where they no longer had to share a bedroom with others,” the watchdog said. “The joy of not having to share a bedroom was reiterated by many residents, who commented that they enjoyed the privacy and space that this offered them.

“One resident we spoke with explained that it was the first time in 50 years that they had their own bedroom.”

When asked if they would ever consider moving back to the campus they previously lived in, residents answered no.

“Not going back. Locked doors. Hated that,” one resident told the inspectors.

Residents spoke about how important it was for them to live with people that they liked and felt safe with. One resident told inspectors of how they are afraid of one person who lives in their home and how this is impacting their life.

“Staff are helping me. I stay in my bedroom if [resident] is walking around the corridor. I complain all the time,” the resident said.

Hiqa inspectors also noted the “huge impact” the Covid-19 pandemic had on the lives of people living in residential care.

This included the use of mask wearing and social distancing within their own homes, as well as not being able to see their families, friends and communities for long periods of time.

“We spoke with residents about the impact that Covid-19 had on their lives. One resident told us that they ‘survived. Think we have to live with it.’ This was reiterated by many,” the report said.

Residents also said being involved in their local communities had been negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic.

“For many residents, Covid-19 put a stop to activities that they engaged in, and at the time we spoke with residents the freedom and enjoyment they previously experienced by being out and about in their communities had not fully returned,” the report said.

“Some residents we spoke with felt cut off from their communities due to the various public health restrictions.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times