Chemical restraints used in autism centres by staff unsure of dosages

HSE takes over Westmeath and Kildare facilities after Hiqa inspection reveals risks

Chemical restraint medicines were being administered by people who did not know how much or how often to give it in centres accommodating residents with autism, Hiqa has found.

Chemical restraint medicines were being administered by people who did not know how much or how often to give it in centres accommodating residents with autism, Hiqa has found.

 

Chemical restraint medicines were being administered by people who did not know how much or how often to give it in centres accommodating residents with autism, inspectors from health watchdog Hiqa have found.

The centres in Westmeath and Kildare, run by the Irish Society for Autism, are among three now taken over by the HSE following serious concerns about the manner in which they were being operated.

Home to 47 residents, the facilities were found to be unsafe and badly managed.

Residents in two of the centres were self-harming and there was poor management of incidents in all three.

All reports cite poor governance, ongoing risks to residents, inadequate knowledge among staff about the medication they were administering and serious understaffing, leaving residents without adequate attention.

Traumatised

Kinnegad

One resident told inspectors they would “leave the room and go to their bedroom” and “shake like a leaf”, when such incidents occurred, while another would “self-injure” after witnessing them.

In Dunfirth Farm in Co Kildare, home to 34 people, one resident “was engaging in self-injurious behaviour resulting in multiple incidents”. There had been about 30 adverse incidents between June and November 2015.

The highly unusual step of cancelling centres’ registration came after repeated Hiqa inspections over 18 months.