Assaults on staff at three disability centres run by same operator

Health watchdog carried out inspections of Nua Healthcare facilities in Kildare and Wicklow

An unannounced inspection by the health authority found female staff working in isolation were vulnerable to assaults by residents. Photograph: Istock

An unannounced inspection by the health authority found female staff working in isolation were vulnerable to assaults by residents. Photograph: Istock

 

Assaults, spitting incidents and attacks on staff occurred in three disability centres run by the same operator, according to reports by the State’s health watchdog. The facilities are run by Nua Healthcare in counties Kildare and Wicklow.

An unannounced inspection by Hiqa, the Health Information and Quality Authority, at the 10-bed Chapel View centre in Kildare found female staff working in isolation were vulnerable to assaults by residents, and there was a high risk from a series of “violent outbursts”.

The watchdog also reported two staff had been assaulted on the first day of a two-day inspection at the Broadleaf Manor service in Kildare and there had been a high level of staff injuries recorded at the five-bed facility.

Watchdog officials concluded the operator had “continued to fail to ensure that residents and staff were safe” at Broadleaf Manor following adverse findings from previous visits. According to the latest report, dating from last May, residents “were hit, shouted at and spat at by other residents”.

Socially inappropriate behaviour was prevalent at the centre, and appropriate action had not been taken to safeguard its staff and residents from violence.

Spitting incidents

Similar findings were made for Chapel View where allegations of abuse included residents entering each other’s bedrooms and threatening assault, spitting incidents and verbal altercations.

Such behaviour was also reflected during a visit to Tignish House in Wicklow, where the service provider was reported to have failed to protect residents from violence and threatening behaviour.

Inspectors noted an assurance from management at Tignish that “all incidents are discussed at the organisation’s clinical meeting where corrective actions and supports are implemented to ensure all residents are safeguarded” was inaccurate and not reflective of actual practice at the centre.

Similar questions arose from the monitoring of incidents at Chapel View where management said there had been “a significant decrease in the number of adverse incidents”, based on observable trends.

This was found not to be the case, with watchdog officials observing that the validity of information had been undermined due to inaccurate data.

Risk assessments

Between them the three centres were found to be non-compliant for a majority of regulatory standards, while major non-compliances were in evidence in 13 out of 27 inspection headings.

In response, management at the two Kildare centres undertook to review safeguarding procedures, while Tignish House undertook to carry out risk assessments on residents and re-educate staff in relation to residents’ rights and safeguarding.

In a separate Hiqa report on a Nua Healthcare disability centre in Westmeath, inspectors commended staff at Gainevale House for good practice across a number of areas, including healthcare, support arrangements for residents and medication management.