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Disabled care home residents 'had to buy own furniture and food'

Published 15/01/2016

Inspectors found that disabled people were having to use their own money for special dietary requirements
Inspectors found that disabled people were having to use their own money for special dietary requirements

Disabled people in a care home had to use their own money to buy bedroom furniture and extra snacks and drinks for a special diet, inspectors have revealed.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) found that the St Patrick's Centre in Kilkenny had no records of why a resident's cash was being used to fit out their room.

And during inspections in July and August, officials found that bank accounts were not held in the name of the residents to whom the money belonged.

"There was evidence that residents were not being protected in relation to the management of their own money," watchdogs said.

"There were not any records available of discussion with or advice given to the resident in relation to these purchases. There was no record of any input from an independent advocate in relation to these purchases.

"There was no record of any rationale from the service provider as to the reason why these purchases were made by the resident."

Inspectors said two residents on specialised prescribed diets had to pay for extra snacks or drinks even though the issue was discussed on a previous visit.

Residents were charged 14 euro (£10.60) a week for trips, with more than 500 euro (£380) refunded to 12 of them for bills they had paid in past years.

Hiqa also warned that an allegation of psychological and physical abuse involving one member of staff was not properly investigated.

Elsewhere, concerns were raised about fire hazards, a lack of privacy in a shower room in one building at St Patrick's, unhygienic areas with spiders and cobwebs visible and flooring held together with duct tape.

In a separate report, t he Cheshire Foundation's Phoenix Park centre for disabled people in Dublin was criticised for not having enough registered nurses.

The 14 residents at the home in July were not having clinical needs met, with inadequate treatment for gastrostomy, bowel and catheter care.

Despite demands from Hiqa for detailed plans on how staffing levels would be improved, chiefs at Cheshire twice had to be asked to explain how they would meet the criteria.

Another report on a centre run by the Irish Society for Autism in Meath found that eight residents were not safe and protected from abuse.

Following inspections in May and October, Hiqa said one resident, who had significant self-harm incidents, was being physically restrained by untrained staff and other residents who saw this cried, would not eat or "looked visibly shaken".

In the fourth report, a disabled care home in north Dublin, run by nurses working for the Daughters of Charity, was also found to have insufficient staff during inspections in September and October.

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