HIQA issue damning report on Letterkenny residential centre for people with disabilities

Significant risk to patients has been found at a residential centre for people with disabilities in Letterkenny according to HIQA.

The Health watchdog report has found major non-compliance at a designated centre operated by the Little Angels Association.

HIQA describes the facility as a single residential community house, providing full time residential care to seven residents.

There were three regulatory breaches identified during the last inspection. These related to the management of individual risks and fire management in the centre. Two of the breaches had been addressed and one remained outstanding.

Inspectors found evidence of allegations or indicators of abuse that had not been managed in a way to ensure the safety of residents. Furthermore, allegations had not been investigated in line with the organisational or national policy and safeguarding procedures.

A review of the documentation provided by the person in charge and of the information provided by residents, staff, management, the inspector concluded there was a significant risk to the safety of residents as a consequence of seriously inadequate safeguarding arrangements in the centre.

For example; the person in charge and the acting provider nominee of the centre were not familiar with the national guidelines and procedures to investigate allegations of abuse.

Furthermore; the person in charge told the inspector that she was the designated officer for safeguarding vulnerable adults for this centre; however, she had not received any training in her role. The inspector found that some of these failings had impacted on the management of outstanding investigations.

The inspector was told of one instance in 2013 where a significant amount of money was misappropriated.

Proper protocols and procedures were not followed in investigating this incident; although the social worker was informed of the incident, the issue was not reported to the Gardai, no proper records of the preliminary screening meetings were available and the money had not yet been returned to the resident.

In addition; the person in charge did not perceive it as her role to follow up on this issue despite being the designated officer for the centre. There were two other safeguarding incidents reported in this centre, where significant bruising and marks were observed on a resident.

These incidents were not appropriately investigated. The last incident of unexplained bruising occurred in November 2015 and although the incident was reported to the Gardai, the incident has still not been appropriately investigated and the resident and staff had not been interviewed.

There was also evidence that costs and expenses of running this service were not effectively monitored.

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