A residential centre for people with intellectual disabilities in Co Louth has failed 14 out of 18 tests in a HIQA inspection.

The Broomfield Centre, which is run by the St John of God Services, was found to have purchased items including cutlery, soft furnishings and a fireplace for the facility using the funds of one resident.

The centre is located within the Drumcar campus and comprises five houses in two separate locations on the campus - four terraced houses and one bungalow.

Inspectors found this was inappropriate and that the resident had no independent representative or next of kin.

HIQA's pre-announced inspection took place last September when 22 male residents were living there.

That is three more than it was supposed to be caring for in its application for registration.

Inspectors were very concerned there was free access from the adult centre to an adjoining children's respite service, which posed a risk to vulnerable residents and this was addressed during the inspection.

Measures to protect residents from harm or abuse were inadequate and the report highlights risks associated with the high numbers of incidents of violence and aggression in the centre's five highly-populated houses.

Overall, 76 breaches of legislation are addressed in the action plan agreed with the SJOGS.

They cover issues such as providing safe and suitable premises and adequate resources to facilitate residents' rights, and medication management.

The report found a resident who was said to require one-to-one around the clock supervision had a member of staff sitting at his/her bedside during the night while the resident slept. 

The inspectors found the bedroom measured 5.2 square metres and contained a single bed, a wardrobe and locker and a small arm chair. Inspectors confirmed the maximum distance between the bed and the chair was less than two feet "which was not adequate or respectful of resident's privacy."

The report states that this was not recognised by the service provider as a rights restriction. It also found that many other residents' rooms were of this size and provided little personal space. 

The inspection found that in the first eight months of last year, 44 incidents of resident-on-resident abuse had been reported, mainly in parts of the centre that were highly populated.

Up to 30 other incidents of abuse/assaults by residents on staff had also been recorded in the same period. 

However, staff training records showed up to 14 of the 52 staff had not received training in the management of aggression and violence and others had not attended refresher training as required.  

The report said "one resident's treatment plan included having an antiseptic lotion, with a distinct and strong smell, applied to his skin which distinguished him from others. On enquiry, inspectors found that this practice was being used in the absence of an appropriate review."

HIQA inspectors confirmed that all staff working for the local SJOGS and who were not directly involved in or working in the centre had a master key that enabled unannounced entry into residents' accommodation. 

Persons working in other parts of the centre and in other services were seen entering residents' homes via a back and side door and did not announce themselves to residents on arrival. 

The report says this breached their right to privacy. It says that rooms within the centre were being used by persons working in other services operated by SJOGS.