Galway disability centre ‘failed to prevent peer-to-peer abuse’

Hiqa releases critical reports into disability services in Galway, Louth and Tipperary

Ability West: A Hiqa report found that locks were fitted to doors and residents escorted down hallways by staff at the centre in Co Galway in order to prevent peer-to-peer attacks.

Ability West: A Hiqa report found that locks were fitted to doors and residents escorted down hallways by staff at the centre in Co Galway in order to prevent peer-to-peer attacks.

 

Locks had to be fitted to doors and residents escorted down hallways by staff at a Galway centre for people with intellectual disabilities in order to prevent peer-to-peer attacks, a report has found.

During a two-day unannounced visit to the Ability West in Dun Na Carraige in September, officials from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found that the 11 residents were sometimes locked in rooms for up to 45 minutes without a reason being given.

Inspectors noted that staff did not identify “continuous peer-to-peer abuse”, and failed to protect residents from similar incidents reoccurring.

One resident refused to walk the centre’s hallways without staff assistance out of fear of attack, and locks were placed on doors into communal areas such as the sitting room, dining room and kitchen to prevent conflict between individuals.

In relation to seclusion practices, which included locking residents in rooms when they presented challenging behaviour, inspectors said the actions taken by staff were not proportional to the risks.

The centre in question displayed major noncompliances across half of the 10 areas reviewed during the visit.

Serious fire risks

At the St Anne’s disability centre in Tipperary, which is run by the Daughters of Charity, inspectors found that its eight residents were exposed to a “serious risk” should a fire occur due to the building’s layout and the absence of fire doors.

A report compiled following an August visit by Hiqa officials concluded that management had “not demonstrated that residents were being adequately protected from injury and harm by their peers” due to the inappropriate mix of residents in the centre.

In addition, concerns were raised about an allegation of abuse in one resident’s file that was never investigated or sent to Hiqa’s chief inspector, as is required in regulations.

Elsewhere, residents of the Greenmount disability centre run by St John of God services in Louth were made to pay for “basic medical aids and equipment” over a period of at least four years, inspectors found.

Individuals in receipt of care at the centre were charged €2,300 for specialised armchairs from 2012-2016, while another was asked to pay €2,500 for an armchair and a scan.

The purchases were not preceded by adequate consultations with residents and their representatives, according to a report, which concluded that the payment requests were inappropriate. This led to a finding that residents were not adequately protected from financial abuse.

During a two-day visit in August, Hiqa officials were informed that reimbursements were being given to those whose personal money was used.

25 reports

The reports were part of 25 released by the health watchdog on Tuesday.

Disability centres across the country run by the Muíriosa Foundation, Rehabcare, Cheeverstown House and a number of other providers ensured a good level of compliance with regulations, according to Hiqa.

However, a number of facilities run by St John of God and the Daughters of Charity came in for criticism as they failed to reach the standards expected under a range of headings.