Resident of Fermanagh care home discovered locked in a room
A man was found locked in his room at a residential care home after a whistleblower raised the alarm, it can be revealed.
The discovery was made at Mantlin Cottage in Kesh, Co Fermanagh, which is run by Praxis Care/Challenge after an unnanounced visit.
On July 20 two care inspectors visited the home, five days after they received the information via an anonymous phone call. The caller had alleged the resident was experiencing "prolonged" periods of time locked in their room.
Inspectors interviewed staff and examined patient records at Mantlin Cottage, a residential unit for adults with learning disabilities and complex support needs.
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) said it failed to comply with two regulations – meeting the residents' individual needs and reflecting current best practice. But Praxis has strongly challenged the findings claiming the report contains "various factual inaccuracies" and has launched an appeal. During the inspections the man was found in a separate area of the home. It had a bedroom, ensuite and lounge but could only be opened using a keypad.
He did have one-to-one care between 8am and 11pm. However, as his sleeping pattern changed, he was alone for "significant periods in the early morning" as his care plan had not been reviewed.
The man – who had been a resident since 2012 – was also not given the opportunity to have free access to communal areas. He faced further restrictions when his lounge door or ensuite bathroom was also locked.
Staff had confirmed the resident experienced being locked in the room for a period since 2012.
The home must now comply with regulations by September 29, 2014. Among the actions ordered were a "full and comprehensive" review of the residents' needs.
A spokesman for Praxis Care said it cannot make any statement which identifies a specific service user and his/her needs. It added that the issues raised by the report did not "necessitate the suspension of any staff".
"However, the report contains various factual inaccuracies and a failure to contextualise the issues," the spokesman said.
"These issues are currently being challenged through the appeal process.
"Any use of restrictive practice is part of a comprehensive care plan and is considered to be in the person's best interests."
An RQIA spokesman said: "As a result of the concerns identified, RQIA has issued two notices of failure to comply with regulations to the provider. Mantlin Cottages is required to achieve compliance with the notices by late September 2014. The safety and wellbeing of all residents at Mantlin Cott age is of paramount importance to RQIA, and through its regulatory activities RQIA will continue to monitor this service."