Hiqa reports 373 suspected cases abuse of nursing home residents

Total of almost 8,700 issues identified last year


Alison Healy

Almost 8,700 issues were identified for improvement in nursing homes by the Health Information and Quality Authority last year, according to its annual overview published this morning.

The 8,697 issues were identified in the 697 individual inspection reports published by the authority last year. Some 565 nursing homes were ordered to make improvements last year.

More than one fifth of the actions related to risk management and health and safety matters. Actions that nursing homes were required to carry out included putting comprehensive risk management policies in place and ensuring that the centres were capable of identifying, recording, investigating and learning from serious incidents or untoward events.

Nursing homes are legally required to notify Hiqa if potentially harmful events have taken place within their centres. The authority received 5,362 such notifications last year and almost 80 per cent related to serious incidents involving residents. Some 373 notifications were about alleged, suspected or confirmed abuse of a resident while 293 involved an outbreak of an infectious disease.

This is Hiqa’s first annual overview report on the regulation of nursing homes since new regulations were introduced more than four years ago. Its chief inspector of social services Phelim Quinn said there had been significant improvements in the safety and quality of care provided by nursing homes since the regulation was introduced. “However, it is clear from this report that there are areas where further improvement is required and we will focus on these areas as part of our continued regulatory activities during 2014,” he said.

lThe overview report is available to download from hiqa.ie.


- Hiqa carried out 814 inspections of 565 residential centres for older people in 2013.

- 78% of the inspections in 2013 were unannounced.

- Of the 8,697 actions required for compliance with the regulations, the greatest number of these, 2,943, was under the theme of effective care and support.

- 5,362 legal notifications were received by HIQA. These cover deaths of residents under 70 years (184 notifications); outbreak of infectious diseases (293); any serious injury to a resident (4,246); unexplained absence (171); alleged, suspected or confirmed abuse of a resident (373) and allegations of misconduct by the centre or anyone working there (95).

- Hiqa received unsolicited information 355 times relating to 213 centres during 2013, most of which came from concerned relatives of residents.