SOME of Cork’s disability centres have revealed how they kept residents and their families connected during the height of Covid-19 restrictions.
Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) carried out a short notice inspection on the centres during the current pandemic with inspectors to the various centres noting the efforts taken by staff to keep families connected and the residents entertained during a difficult time.
Those inspected were: Cope Foundation’s Cork City North 23 centre on October 7; Cope Foundation’s West County Cork 5 centre on September 10, and Brothers of Charity Services’ No 4 Brooklime centre on September 3.
The Cope Foundation’s Cork City North 23 centre opened in January 2020, providing full-time residential support for up to three adults with severe to profound levels of intellectual disability.
While the number of occasions relatives were able to visit this designated centre due to the pandemic restrictions were low, those that did occur highlighted the quality of care residents received.
The person in charge explained how photographs of one resident celebrating their birthday were sent to family members.
Another resident was able to have a tea party in the back garden with their relatives and show off their new swing at the same time.
Staff were in regular contact with family members keeping them informed of how their relative was settling into the centre and what activities they were involved in with a family member of one of the residents telling the inspector how staff had kept them informed with messages and pictures.
They stated they were very happy with the staff support given to the resident and the family during the transition to the new house with the family commending the staff on their dedication.
The residents also had access to a smart television, the inspector observed one resident listening to a wildlife documentary at one stage during the day in the lounge which they appeared to enjoy.
Meanwhile, at the Cope Foundation’s West County Cork 5 centre, residents had recommenced home visits and shared care arrangements since the end of July.
The practice of shared care and home visits had been restricted in line with public health guidelines but community integration and home visits had been reintroduced subject to risk assessments at the time of the inspection. Residents understood the need for such restrictions and were happy to be again spending time at home with their families.
A range of other activities such as dining out, walks, and shopping had recommenced with some residents enjoying taking part in baking and helping staff with minor household chores.
At No 4 Brooklime centre, residents appeared happy, with one resident observed smiling while they looked out the window to see if the day service staff had arrived.
The resident was observed holding a backpack which staff members explained was used as an object of reference to indicate to the resident that they would be going to day service.
A different object of reference was used on the weekends, to indicate that the resident would not be going to day service that day.
Staff members had ensured that residents continued to engage in activities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in a safe and controlled manner with residents being provided with opportunities to participate in activities in accordance with their interests which included picnics, going to the beach and overnight hotel trips.