A unit in Kilkenny catering for 28 people with complex medical needs including dementia and visual impairments has been criticised in a number of reports by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

HIQA has published the reports following unannounced inspections at St Patrick's Centre in Kilkenny.

A report in June found there were 17 issues of non-compliance. 

This report formed the basis of an Interim Order made by Kilkenny District Court in June cancelling the registration of Our Lady's Unit in St Patricks as a designated centre.

The HSE was placed in charge and the interim order was subsequently extended up until September.

In June, HIQA inspectors stated the centre was not fit for purpose, that institutional abuse had occurred due to poor care practices and that incidents of injury and harm between peers, such as hair pulling, hitting out or biting occurred frequently.

The inspectors also noted that one of the bungalows was home to five residents, nearly all of whom had a visual impairment.

This bungalow had not been equipped with any appliances or aids to help people to move independently around their home. 

They also found the centre was visibly unclean with layers of dust present and ceilings in many areas had damp stains.

HIQA also stated that residents' finances were not protected, that residents did not have their own bank accounts in their own names but instead their finances were held in a central account accessed by the centre.

It said that by the time other inspections occurred in August and September, the number of major non-compliances had reduced from 17 to four.

It said that some deficiencies identified from the previous inspection were still outstanding; that inspectors were not assured there was adequate oversight of safety arrangements, operational management and administration of the designated centre by the HSE.