Management at a centre for people with disabilities that has received a critical report from a health watchdog has said they were not aware of safeguarding protocols when the centre was inspected.
Fiona House in Letterkenny, which is run by Little Angels Housing Association was found to be majorly non compliant in management of risk, safeguarding vulnerable adults, resource management and governance, in a report by the Health information Quality and Authority (Hiqa).
There were seven residents in the home when the two-day inspection was carried out in April.
Among the concerns raised were doubts of the ability of staff to evacuate the building safely during a fire alarm, money belonging to a patient being misappropriated and incidents of bruising on patients not being properly investigated.
Inspectors found that the governance, management and financial viability of the
centre “were a serious concern”.
The report found that the lack of provider oversight resulted in the person in charge managing the centre without adequate support and supervision.
Hiqa said that while there was good evidence of compliance or substantial
compliance; the management of risk, safeguarding vulnerable adults, resource
management and governance were all majorly non compliant.
The inspection found that two staff working in the centre did not have training in protecting vulnerable adults. The inspector found that some of these failings had impacted on the management of outstanding investigations.
The inspector was told of one instance in 2013 where a significant amount of money was misappropriated. Proper protocols and procedures were not followed in investigating this incident; although the social worker was informed of the incident, the issue was not reported to the gardaí, no proper records of the preliminary screening meetings were available and the money had not yet been returned to the resident.
There were two incidents reported where significant bruising and marks were observed on a resident.
These incidents were not appropriately investigated. The last incident of unexplained bruising occurred in November 2015 and although the incident was reported to the gardai, the report found the incident has still not been appropriately investigated and the resident and staff had not been interviewed.
In terms of fire safety, the inspection found that there was only one staff member on duty at night for seven residents and there was no assessment undertaken as to the ability of one member of staff to safely evacuate residents in the event of a fire.
One staff member that worked nights was not aware of the proper fire evacuation procedures.
The inspection identified ten outcomes that were fully compliant, or substantially
compliant, four outcomes that were moderately non compliant, and four outcomes that were non compliant major.
While there was good evidence of compliance or substantial compliance; the management of risk, safeguarding vulnerable adults, resource management and governance were all majorly non compliant.
The inspection also found there were financial issues in the centre, including written evidence that that the centre was not appropriately resourced and that its financial viability was at risk.
Chair of the Little Angels Housing Association, Geraldine Doherty said that she was not aware of the safeguarding rules at the time of the inspection, but management has undergone extensive training since and new management systems have been put in place.
“I didn’t know the safeguarding rules, I thought we will just keep them safe,” she said speaking on Highland Radio.
“But there are new rules and regulations and we didn't have the training. Neither myself nor the manager on this. They (Hiqa) came in and they found us wanting especially me, and they were saying: ‘what do you know about running a health provision?’ And I have to admit I didn't.
“But since then, five months, since then, myself and the manger have undergone extensive training.
“We had policies in place but there were not to Hiqa satisfaction, we now have those in place. We have now looked at all the areas and our vision is to become totally compliant very soon.”