New report shows improved care standards at Áras Attracta

Care standards at Áras Attracta in Swinford have improved significantly, according to a new report by health services watchdog HIQA.

However, further improvements are still needed.

Those were the findings, published on Tuesday, from an unannounced HIQA inspection at the centre last April.

Two inspectors visited the HSE run residential care facility for adults with disabilities, over two days, on April 29 and 30 last.

They found major improvements at the centre, where serious concerns about care standards had previously been raised by HIQA inspectors and by a shocking RTÉ Primetime investigation, aired last December.

In this latest report, inspectors found the centre to be generally safe and residents being provided with a higher quality of care and support than seen during previous inspections.

"Significant changes had taken place which were improving the lives of many residents," stated the report.

"In general, residents were found to be safe and governance and management structures within the centre had changed significantly which ensured greater monitoring and supervision of staff practice."

A number of new staff have also been recruited. 

The centre was inspected under seven different categories ranging from residents' rights and dignity to medication management and staff training.

The centre was fully compliant in three areas and moderately non-compliant in three areas.

Major non-compliance was noted in the area of 'residents' rights, dignity and consultation', one of the main issues of concern being the use of institutional style practices.

Those practices included residents not being involved in normal everyday life activities like deciding and preparing meals; the use of hospital beds and linen in their homes; and hourly checks throughout the night without any individual assessment as to whether this was necessary or not.

Areas where significant improvements were noted included the ongoing roll out of more individualised assessments and planning for each resident; more activities for residents; new staff, increased training, and new management structures.

The HSE has also provided HIQA with details of how it plans to address the areas where the centre is still not fully compliant.

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