Covid-19 worsened life quality for thousands with disabilities living in institutions

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

Covid-19 has exacerbated the issues people with disabilities face while living in congregated settings, according to a new watchdog report.

The report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) found that those living in institutions had a poor quality of life.

HIQA carried out over a thousand inspections in disability services in 2019, as one in three residents continue to live in large institutions or campuses instead of community settings.

It found that though the majority of centres provided a good quality of care to residents, many of the 2,914 residents with a disability living in congregated settings experienced a poorer quality of service and life compared to those living in the community.

Residents have told us during Covid that they are finding the restrictions difficult.

HIQA's Deputy Chief Inspector of Social Services, Finbarr Colfer, said Covid-19 had made situations worse: “Residents have told us during Covid that they are finding the restrictions difficult.

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“In most cases, the restrictions experienced by residents are similar to those the rest of us [experience] in society, but residents in larger institutions can have increased restrictions placed on them because they’re living at such close quarters to other residents and the risks are higher in those bigger institutions.”

Mr Colfer said residents living in institutional settings could experience a poorer quality of life due to their living environment: “Not being in contact with their local communities, activities can sometimes be put to one side because of staffing issues or lack of transport to go and do what residents wish to do.

Many of those centres are old buildings, they’re poorly maintained, poor living environment and people have to live at very close quarters to each other.

“Many of those centres are old buildings, they’re poorly maintained, poor living environment and people have to live at very close quarters to each other.”

Inclusion Ireland has expressed concern at the findings and has called on the Government to accelerate the de-institutionalisation of people into homes in the community.

HIQA has said it will continue to promote service improvements and the rights and quality of life of people with disabilities living in designated centres.

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