Hiqa underlines its concerns about Dublin community home

By Evelyn Ring
Irish Examiner Reporter

Serious shortcomings in the quality and safety of a community home for people with disabilities have been found by State's health services watchdog.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority made an unannounced inspection last November of Clew Bay, in Dublin, operated by St Michael's House.

They noted that "significant improvements" were needed in residents' rights and their personal plans, risk management, safeguarding and the premises.

There were also issues around the effectiveness of management and ongoing concern regarding the compatibility of some residents.

Two terrace houses within walking distance of each other are used to provide a community home for eight adults with an intellectual disability.

The centre was inspected three times last year, with the provider having to provide assurances because of concerns raised following previous inspections.

When inspectors last visited the centre they found that an abuse allegation had not been reported to the Office of the Chief Inspector.

The incident had been escalated within the organisation by the person in charge but had been incorrectly deemed as not being a notifiable event.

The inspectors also found that the organisation's policy on protecting adults from abuse and neglect was ineffective in guiding staff practice.

Meanwhile, inspectors revisited a centre in Co Louth – Chestnut Heights, operated by St John of God Community Services because they previously identified significant failings.

While some issues had been addressed more improvements were needed so that the centre that had 16 residents was homely, clean and updated.

During an unannounced visit, last September the inspectors found that transport was even more limited, with the number of vehicles reduced from two to one. Taxis were provided for medical appointments, but management was told that availability of transport must improve.

Plans to move residents into new community homes will result in the centre closing by 2021. Inspectors are particularly concerned about one unit expected to close by the year-end.

St Lukes and St Matthews, two other residential units in Co Louth operated by St John of God Community Services, were deemed “not fit for purpose” during an unannounced inspection last September and there were concerns about the use of restrictive practices. There were seven residents living there at the time.

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