Inspectors find failings in every HSE disability care home

One-third of Hiqa visits to HSE centres record failure to meet any of its standards

More than 93 per cent of inspections of disability homes carried out by the State’s health watchdog found the facilities failed to comply with national standards.

An analysis of more than 900 inspection reports published since the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) began inspecting such facilities in November 2013 shows that HSE-run disability homes fare particularly badly.

Hiqa assesses disability homes against up to 18 standards during each inspection, including residents’ rights, healthcare needs and welfare needs as well as staffing levels, medication management and governance.

The analysis, covering every inspection report published by Hiqa to the end of last week, found none of the 75 HSE-run homes inspected to date were fully compliant with all the standards examined.


The HSE funds services for about 8,000 people in residential support settings, including 1,400 places in HSE-run units, at a cost of €900 million a year.

The analysis shows more than one-third of inspections carried out in HSE-run homes found they did not comply with any of the standards.

One unit of a HSE-run home in Sligo which houses over 100 adults and children with disabilities failed to meet any of the watchdog’s standards during five separate visits between December 2014 and April this year.

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn called on the HSE to better monitor the services it provides or funds. “Providers need to have systems that help them become aware of poor practices and respond proactively, not just waiting on Hiqa or others to highlight these issues and prompt a response,” he said.

The Irish Times analysis also found one in seven homes/units failed to meet any of Hiqa's standards. It also shows that less than 7 per cent of inspections carried out at disability centres/units found full compliance with all the standards.

Disability unit

Hiqa said almost 80 per cent of homes have now been inspected (although inspection reports for all of these have not yet been published).

A report on a Kilkenny disability unit, published yesterday, found the centre was understaffed, inadequately resourced and unclean. Two rodent traps were found in the dining room of one bungalow and an evacuation route was blocked with debris and chairs.

In a separate report on a residential centre for children, inspectors found one child had been inappropriately placed in respite for seven months despite concerns being raised by the centre’s human rights committee about the child making a two-hour round trip to attend school each day.

Some 20 disability homes are facing the prospect of closure after Hiqa issued proposals to cancel or refuse their applications for registration in recent weeks.

They include one unit of the Áras Attracta care home in Swinford, Co Mayo, which is being investigated after an RTÉ programme aired last year reported instances of slapping, kicking, and force-feeding at the HSE-run facility.

In a statement, the HSE said it welcomed inspections and was working closely with Hiqa to address issues and to work towards the required standards.