Hiqa reports on services for people with disabilities published


The first batch of inspection reports into residential homes and services for people with disabilities has been published by the Health Information and Quality Authority


Twelve reports into residential homes and services for people with disabilities, which came under the remit of Hiqa on November 1st last, include wide-ranging recommendations around the protection of residents, improvements to fire safety and improvements around the protection of residents’ finances.

One inspection report related to Stewarts Care, a residential home for people with disabilities in Dublin 20. Hiqa carried out an unannounced monitoring inspection on December 10th after the provider contacted the authority five days earlier informing it that allegations of abuse had been made.

The Irish Times reported last December that students who had been on placement in Stewarts Care had raised concerns about the treatment of residents at the centre in late 2012 and early 2013, resulting in the suspension of a number of staff late last year. Following a preliminary report before Christmas, the staff involved were reinstated but moved to administration pending further investigations.

Separate to the Hiqa inspection, an external investigation team chaired by independent mediator and investigator Jim Halley was appointed.

An interim report by the independent investigation team criticised management at Stewarts Care over how it handled the allegations against staff. Mr Halley’s final report has not yet been published.

At the time of the Hiqa inspection on December 10th, 2013, all residents were found to be safe and policies and procedures in place to protect residents. All staff they spoke to knew what constituted abuse and what to do in the case of an allegation, suspicion or disclosure of abuse.

The report raised issues around the excessive use of locked doors and that some care plans did not specifically detail the physical care interventions required to assist some residents, creating the potential for inconsistent and inappropriate physical care.

The provider responded on December 27th, saying the practice of locking internal doors had ceased and reviews of all matters raised would be implemented by mid-2014.