A HIQA inspection of a care home in Co Westmeath has found major non-compliance with regulations and significant deficits in safety and the quality of the service provided.

Thirty-six breaches were found at the Health Service Executive-run St Peter’s Care Home in Castlepollard during the unannounced inspection in December of two of the community houses on the site. 

As a result, the centre has been asked to cease admissions immediately and to transfer residents it is unable to care for.

The two houses at St Peter’s care for nine female residents with intellectual disabilities, additional mobility needs and challenging behaviours. 

The inspection found one resident had four incidences of unexplained bruising and had not been seen by a medical professional. 

There were numerous problems with fire management systems - one fire exit from one of the houses could only be accessed by steps.

Residents' nutritional needs were not being met; food was not wholesome.

Governance and management was weak and staff skill mix and competency did not meet the needs of residents.

One of the two houses did not meet the needs of the four residents and was in a state of disrepair.

Toilet facilities were too narrow and staff utilised the en-suite for themselves, some residents used commodes.

This impacted negatively on the dignity of residents.

There were regularly documented incidents of a resident engaging in socially inappropriate sexualised behaviour both within the home and in public amenities. 

The resident had been referred in September 2013 but assessment only began in December 2014.

In a statement the HSE said they acknowledged the report and said it has taken a number of immediate actions to address the "deficits" highlighted.

It said the governance structure of the houses has been strengthened and a working group established to manage the actions that need to be addressed following the HIQA inspection.

An investigation has also been carried out into the reported incidents of unexplained bruising.

The executive said the finds of the HIQA investigation are unacceptable and the "HSE will continue to work with HIQA in order to improve safety and quality of services".

Responding to the HIQA inspection, Inclusion Ireland CEO Paddy Connolly said that there were very significant human rights abuses but they were also coming from a long history of institutionalised care and the culture had not changed.

He said practices and staff were institutionalised. 

He said that the broader challenge for the Government was that it required significant investment to support people to live in the community.

Mr Connolly said there was a need to modernise thinking and there was a real comfort with the level of abuses and he said blame was shared across a number of ministries.