HIQA critical of crowded conditions for disabled residents


An overview of HIQA’s regulation in designated centres for people with disabilities, has been published

Mary Dunnion, HIQA

People with disabilities living in congregated settings have a poor quality of life, according to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

An overview of HIQA’s regulation in designated centres for people with disabilities, published on September 2, found that the majority of centres provided a good quality of care and support to residents.

Inspectors also said there was increased compliance in key areas, such as protection and social care, across centres since 2018.

However, it was also noted that many residents living in congregated settings were experiencing a poor quality of service and life.

The findings were based on visits by HIQA inspectors to more than 1,000 care settings.

Commenting on the report, HIQA’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Social Services (Disability) Finbarr Colfer said one in three residents continued to live in large institutions or campuses and were at greater risk of having a poor quality of life compared to those who resided in the community.

“Residents in congregated settings were often separated from their local communities and continued to live in unsuitable, outdated accommodation,” he said.

“Important aspects of everyday life and person-centred care such as the privacy of your own room, being able to have local friends, and having access to your own kitchen or laundry facilities are often compromised or unavailable to these residents.”

HIQA’s Chief Inspector of Social Services and Director of Regulation Mary Dunnion said while regulation has made a significant contribution to improving the lives, experiences and human rights of people living in these centres over the past six years, further work was required.

“Regulations are the basic minimum standard of care that should be provided to people, and it is disheartening to continue to find people with disabilities living in designated centres who could not fully exercise their basic human rights,” she said.

“While primary responsibility for providing a safe and a good quality service to people with disabilities rests with the service providers, it is also imperative that the funders of these services ensure that public finances are being used to deliver a good quality and safe service.”

As of December 31, there were 1,268 registered designated centres for people with disabilities, providing places for 9,064 residents.

During the previous 12 months, HIQA carried out 1,016 inspections in designated centres for people with disabilities.

Colfer added that HIQA would continue to promote service improvements and the rights and quality of life of people with disabilities living in designated centres during the pandemic — particularly those in campuses and congregated settings.

“We are also aware that the Covid-19 pandemic poses huge challenges to the 9,000-plus people with disabilities living in designated centres, and their families, friends, advocates and providers. HIQA is committed to continuing to work with providers during these challenging times to ensure that the rights of residents are promoted and protected.”

peter.doyle@imt.ie



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