Further damning report on Áras Attracta care standards

Áras Attracta

Áras Attracta

Another damning report by health services watchdog HIQA has raised serious ongoing concerns about the care of residents at the HSE run facility, Áras Attracta in Swinford.

HIQA published its new report on Wednesday, which relates to an unannounced inspection at Áras Attracta in January, one month after a special RTÉ investigations documentary caused shock and outrage when it exposed apparent emotional and physical abuse of adults with intellectual disabilities in one unit at the home.

The latest wide ranging inspections involved, at one stage, up to five HIQA inspectors and took place over four days from January 11 to 14.

In the inspection report, HIQA has found that while there was evidence of some good practice in specific areas, the residential facility for adults with disabilities was still ‘non-compliant’ across a significant number of care standards and regulations.

Áras Attracta is divided into three centres and the inspections were carried out at Centre 2 and 3.

Concerns at Centre 2, which includes the now infamous Bungalow 3, included that some residents’ privacy and dignity was not being properly protected and that procedures to protect residents from abuse and harm were not being consistenly implemented across all areas of the centre.

HIQA said the use of medication to manage behaviour was also a concern.

The report found that at times, staffing arrangements were not adequate and also noted unsafe medication practices.

They said that there were limited opportunities for some residents to participate in social activities and some areas of the physical environment had not been maintained in a clean and hygienic condition.

Similar concerns were noted at Centre 3.

Concerns included that the privacy and dignity of some residents was not being supported, particularly those who shared bedrooms; inadequate enforcement of measures to protect residents from abuse or harm; limited opportunity for some residents to participate in social activities; some residents did not have ready access to toilet facilities or adequate bedroom space; fire evacuation procedures needed to be improved; and there were insufficient staffing levels at night in one bungalow.

Responding to the publication of the report, a statement from the HSE said it took a series of corrective steps immediately after the inspection to address the shortcomings highlighted.

Some of the key measures taken included 27 additional staff being put in place to increase social activities for residents both on site and in the community.

The centre is also developing a range of complementary therapies and activities, stated the HSE.

“Activities available on site include multisensory therapy, hand massage, music therapy, beautician, imagination gym, art therapy, swimming pool, and snoozlin,” it said.

More training has been provided to address medication issues and a dedicated coordinator has been put in place to develop care planning.

Meanwhile, Allen Dunne, deputy CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland, said it was “extremely disappointing and disturbing” to read of ongoing concerns at Áras Attracta.

“It is apparent from the reports that in addition to core health and safety issues the residents are continuing to be treated with a lack of basic respect and dignity,” he said.

Mr Dunne said the ongoing compliance failures in care homes around the country is “symptomatic of a wider lack to commitment to the rights of people with disabilities in Government policy”.


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