A new HIQA report into a disability unit in Inishowen has found that residents had their rights to privacy, dignity and control over their personal finances compromised.
The James Connolly Memorial Residential Unit in Carndonagh had a number of issues of non-compliance during an inspection by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) this June. The centre was non-compliant with 10 out of 16 regulations.
Sixteen residents were living at the centre at the time of inspection.
The inspector found that residents’ rights to their own property was restricted. Residents had inadequate control over their finances and were only permitted to keep €25 in their individual wallets or purses. If they required over €25 (for example to buy clothes or avail of an outing), they had to put in a request with management.
Also, residents could not access services of interest to them across the border in the same way as their peers. One resident who particularly liked swimming had not been supported to go on swimming in the last two years, even though a public swimming pool was available to use in Derry city.
Residents also liked to avail of overnight stays in hotels and go on holidays; however, the report said that activities such as these were not being adequately provided for.
While staff were seen to be attentive and warm with residents at all times, the report ruled that the quality and safety of care provided to the residents required review and improvement.
While residents’ healthcare and medical needs were being comprehensively provided for, they were not being supported to have meaningful and active lives in their community, the premises were institutional in design (and this was impacting negatively on residents’ rights to privacy and dignity) and the process of managing risk required review.
Residents were also subject to a number of institutionalised practices which impacted negatively on their rights and freedoms as citizens. The design and layout did not provide a homelike environment and impinged on residents’ rights to privacy and dignity.
There was inadequate private accommodation available to residents and a number of residents had no alternative but to sleep in dormitories (with four male residents sharing one dormitory and five female residents sharing the other).
Parts of the building were deemed inappropriate, such as broken thermostats on radiators and a leaking ceiling in the dining room, where staff were required to collect rainwater in buckets so as to ensure the dining room floor did not flood.
The report noted that a number of improvements were planned at James Connolly Memorial Residential Unit, including the upgrading of the dormitory style bedrooms.
A second inspection took place at the unit in August 2019, when the inspector reported new systems were put in place to meet the assessed social care needs of the residents and give them more regular access to the community.