‘High’ number of falls and inaccessible fire exits found at HSE-run home

Hiqa raises concerns after inspection at facility for the intellectually disabled

Inspectors have found a ‘high’ number of falls and several incidents of choking at a HSE-run home for the intellectually disabled. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Inspectors have found a ‘high’ number of falls and several incidents of choking at a HSE-run home for the intellectually disabled. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

Inspectors have found a “high” number of falls, several incidents of choking, and inaccessible fire exits and blocked evacuation routes at a HSE-run home for the intellectually disabled.

The Nephin Lodge centre in Enniscrone, Co Sligo, was deemed non-compliant with regulations in five key areas during an announced inspection in June this year, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has said.

The home provides residential care to 13 adults with intellectual disabilities who have “high support needs”.

In its latest report on the home, the State’s health watchdog said there had been 16 recorded falls involving residents at the home since November last year.

One resident had suffered seven trips and falls over the five months leading up to the inspection.

Despite the “high incidents of falls”, the HSE had not completed a comprehensive review of the risks in the home, Hiqa said.

Furthermore, there were “several incidents of choking” where direct intervention from staff members was required to ensure residents’ safety.

The watchdog said some residents at the home need one-on-one supervision because of their risk of falling and choking.

Despite this, inspectors assessing night-time staffing arrangements were told staff had to leave the residents unattended in one unit of the home, while looking after residents in another unit.

“Therefore, inspectors found the provider was not ensuring the residents’ safety was maintained at all times,” Hiqa said.

Staffing hours

A manager has since increased staffing hours pending a full review of residents’ support needs at night, according to the report.

The home was also criticised for shortcomings in fire safety.

Some residents have high mobility needs and need the use of mobility aids, such as a wheelchair and rollators, the report pointed out.

The watchdog found three fire exits which were in close proximity to residents’ bedrooms were “inaccessible” due to the presence of steps.

Also, external evacuation routes were blocked by refuse bins and an external shed, it added.

Hiqa has called for improvements in the governance, management and oversight of the home, including in areas such as staffing, risk management, safeguarding and the premises.

The report also found staff at the home were very respectful in their care and were knowledgeable about each resident’s needs.