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Faeces and broken glass observed in HSE-run residential care homes, Hiqa finds

Faeces, broken glass and cracked bathroom tiles were observed by health inspectors at a HSE-run residential care homes which caters to 32 adults with autism.

In a report by health watchdog Hiqa, Dunfirth Farm in County Meath was found to be in breach of the majority of regulations that govern residential care homes.

Inspectors, Andrew Mooney and Marie Byrne, visited the facility in May and outlined a litany of health, safety and organisational deficiencies at Dunfirth, which is located in a rural setting on a large campus.

At the time of inspection, the centre provided residential care and support for 32 adults on the autistic spectrum.

The majority of the residents had been living in the centre for more than 20 years.

In the centre which the HSE took over in 2016, inspectors found the premises to be in a poor state of repair, there was insufficient staff to meet residents’ assessed needs and there was limited access to meaningful activities for residents.

However, the inspectors also found that staff were respectful towards residents and generally appeared to understand their needs.

The assessment of Dunfirth is one of 25 inspection reports on centres for people with disabilities released by HIQA today.

Of these 25, inspectors found a good level of compliance with the regulations and standards in 16 centres, including in centres operated by the HSE, St John of God Community Services, St Joseph’s Foundation, St Michael’s House, Sunbeam House and Waterford Intellectual Disability Association.

Non-compliance with the regulations and standards was found on nine inspections.

An assessment of three Sunbeam House centres found that improvements had been made in all three centres since Hiqa's previous inspections.

However, in two centres further improvements were required to strengthen risk management and safeguard residents.

Inspection reports on seven HSE-run centres operated found that the standard of care and support being provided in four of them was safe and of good quality.

However, in one centre, residents told inspectors they were unhappy with their accommodation, while in another,

improvements were required to ensure complaints were addressed and that incidents were notified to Hiqa.

Inspections on 10 centres operated by St John of God Community Services show that seven centres were compliant with the regulations and providing good quality care to the people who lived there.

An inspection of a centre, located on a campus, found that staffing resources were insufficient to support residents to access the community.

In another centre, the provider was required to strengthen fire precautions, such as servicing fire equipment, to ensure residents were adequately protected from the risk of fire.

An inspection of another centre operated by St John of God Community Services found that some staff did not have up-to-date training in critical areas such as manual handling and safeguarding residents from the risk of abuse.

There were also deficits in risk management in the centre and some units were found to be in a poor state of repair.

Reports on three St Michael’s House centres found that two of them were meeting residents’ needs in line with the regulations and standards - but in a third centre, the provider was required to improve the management of risks, in particular around fire safety.