Inspection finds doors locked at Dublin disability centre

Thursday 03 April 2014 22.59
Stewarts Care told HIQA of allegations of serious abuse at the centre in December last year
Stewarts Care told HIQA of allegations of serious abuse at the centre in December last year

An independent inspection of one of the country's largest centres for people with intellectual disabilities has found that internal doors in a unit were locked.

It found the practice impinged on the liberty of some adult residents.

The unannounced inspection of Stewarts Care in west Dublin was undertaken following allegations of abuse at the centre.

The audit was the first of its kind by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

It found that while on the day of inspection all residents were safe, there was "moderate non-compliance in overall safeguarding arrangements for residents".

HIQA's report on the Stewarts centre in Palmerstown is one of 12 published today, the first batch of audits under a new regime of State monitoring of residential centres for people with disabilities.

The other 11 reports concern centres with less than 15 residents.

However, the Palmerstown centre accommodates 184, mostly adults with intellectual disabilities and HIQA chose it for its first unannounced inspection.

The report recalls that on 5 December last year, Stewarts Care told HIQA of allegations of serious abuse at the centre.

Despite assurances that no staff subject to an allegation was currently providing care and that a formal investigation by a Stewarts-appointed independent investigator had commenced, HIQA made an unannounced inspection of the centre within a week.

The inspection found that while on the day it was done, all residents were safe; there was a moderate non-compliance in overall safeguarding arrangements for residents.

It says that one bungalow unit for adult residents had locked internal doors, which impinged on the liberty of some of them.

It adds that while some residents may have required this form of intervention, it had a negative impact on other residents who may not have required this level of restriction.

According to the report, Stewarts has told HIQA that the practice of locking internal doors in the bungalow has ceased, that staff are aware that it is forbidden and that a review of locking of all doors in all nine bungalows will be completed in the next four months.

The report also says some of the personal care plans did not specifically detail the physical care interventions required to assist some residents, thereby creating the potential for inconsistent and inappropriate physical care.

It says that the mechanism for reporting of abusive behaviour required improvement.