Disability centre residents exposed to shouting and pushing – Hiqa

Group home run by St Michael’s House found to be in breach of 15 out of 17 regulations


Residents of a Dublin-based disability centre were regularly exposed to shouting, screaming and pushing, a new inspection report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) shows.

Hazelwood centre, operated by St Michael’s House, was found to be in breach of 15 out of 17 regulations, when inspectors from Hiqa visited last November.

Non-compliance was found in relation to risk management, fire precautions, residents’ rights and staffing, as well as other areas, some of which had been flagged in a previous inspection in 2015.

The residential centre is home to six men and women with intellectual disabilities.

Inspectors were informed that some residents communicated by shouting, and could keep other inhabitants awake throughout the night. This behaviour was witnessed on the day of inspection, where there were prolonged periods of screaming and shouting which “impacted on the safety of others”, the report said.

“While residents were supported by staff in the centre during these incidents, the systems in place did not ensure that these incidents were screened appropriately in order to protect residents.

“Inspectors were not satisfied that the arrangements in the centre were protecting residents from the risk of abuse,” the report said.

On one occasion service users were prevented from leaving the house due to the behavioural needs of another resident. While detailed plans were in place to support those displaying these actions, there “was not sufficient effort made to identify and alleviate the cause of residents’ challenging behaviour,” the report details.


There were also “numerous potential safeguarding incidents that occurred and had not been recorded appropriately or screened in line with national policy”. Furthermore, the report notes that residents were “not consistently supported to participate in and consent to decisions about their care and support, or to exercise choice and control in their daily lives”.

Staffing levels were also a cause for concern for Hiqa’s inspectors.

They found that while staff were appropriately qualified and experienced, there were insufficient staff employed to meet the needs of the service users. Continuity of care was challenged by the volume of vacancies and overuse of relief or agency staff. In November, more than 500 hours were not covered by regular staff.

The report notes that a number of changes have been enacted by the centre since the initial inspection, including a full review of safeguarding support and plans for each resident.

Out of 26 inspections on designated centres for people with disabilities, 21 found “a good level of compliance”.