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Disability Centers in Ireland: HIQA Reports Reveal Mixed Compliance, Highlighting Safety and Governance Concerns

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The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) disclosed its latest series of inspection reports covering 23 disability centers for individuals with disabilities in Ireland. These inspections assess compliance with the Health Act 2007, specific to the Care and Support of Residents in Designated Centers for Persons with Disabilities Regulations 2013, and the National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities.

The inspections revealed a spectrum of compliance across the disability centers, showcasing both exemplary practices and areas necessitating significant improvement. Of the 23 disability centers reviewed, 12 exhibited a commendable level of adherence to the established regulations and standards. These disability centers, operated by a range of providers including Embrace Community Services Ltd, GALRO Unlimited Company, and MyLife by Estrela Hall Limited, demonstrated strong operational practices that significantly enhance the quality of life for residents.

Inspection Highlights: Good Practices and Urgent Improvements in Disability Centers

Several instances of good practice were observed during the inspections. In Kildare, a center managed by GALRO Unlimited Company provided residents with an expansive garden tailored to their needs, featuring a variety of recreational facilities such as a trampoline and a basketball hoop. Additionally, a secluded garden space with potted plants and a raised herb bed offered a peaceful retreat for residents. At an Orchard Community Care Limited facility in Mayo, the responsiveness and supportive nature of the staff were particularly noted. A resident’s family member highlighted the proactive engagement of staff in accommodating and adjusting to the resident’s needs and preferences.

An HSE-operated center in Sligo actively involved residents in community activities, enhancing their social interactions and personal satisfaction. Residents participated in a range of external activities, including therapeutic and wellness sessions outside the center. Conversely, the reports also pointed out non-compliance issues in 11 disability centers that negatively impacted care and support. Two centers run by KARE required urgent improvements in several areas such as staff training, medication management, and fire safety to better meet residents’ needs.

Disability Centers

HIQA Reports Highlight Safety and Governance Issues in Disability Centers

Gheel Autism Services CLG was noted for poor fire safety measures and substandard premises conditions, raising significant safety concerns. Issues with governance and staffing were recurrent themes in four HSE-operated disability centers, necessitating overhauls in management practices to ensure the fulfillment of resident needs. The Kerry Parents and Friends Association and Kingsriver Community Holdings CLG were among those needing substantial improvements to address governance failures and staffing deficiencies, which restricted resident engagement and development opportunities.

This latest round of reports by HIQA not only underscores the varying standards of care provided across these facilities but also calls for a concerted effort to elevate care practices to ensure all individuals with disabilities receive the support and opportunities they deserve. The ongoing monitoring and transparent reporting by HIQA aim to foster an environment of continuous improvement within these vital services.


Resource: Health Information and Quality Authority, May 15, 2024

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