Disability services publication statement 8 November 2022

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published 26 inspection reports on infection control in designated centres for people with disabilities. HIQA inspects against the Health Act 2007 (Care and Support of Residents in Designated Centres for Persons (Children and Adults with Disabilities) Regulations 2013 and the National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities, which apply to residential services for people with disabilities in Ireland. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure robust infection control measures beyond COVID-19, the Chief Inspector of Social Services commenced a programme of targeted inspections to assess registered providers’ compliance with Regulation 27: Protection against infection. The inspection programme aims to promote continuous quality improvement in infection prevention and control, in line with the National Standards for infection prevention and control in community services, (2018), as published by HIQA. 

Inspectors found a generally good level of compliance with the regulations and standards across the 26 centres inspected. 

Good practice was observed by inspectors in centres operated by: Carriglea Cáirde Services, Health Service Executive (HSE), Nua Healthcare Services Limited, Peamount Healthcare, Peter Bradley Foundation CLG, St Christopher's Services CLG, St John of God Community Services CLG, St Michael's House, The Rehab Group, and Western Care Association.

Examples of good practice included:

  • Residents were consulted on infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures and had easy-to-read information available. 
  • Effective staff communication on updated IPC practices to ensure a consistency of approach.
  • Up to date and regular staff IPC training.
  • IPC contingency plans were reviewed following outbreaks to ensure ongoing effectiveness and shared learning opportunities.
  • Cleanliness of centre premises maintained by effective cleaning schedules and monitoring through management audits.

Eight centres operated by Ability West, Avista CLG, HSE, L'Arche Ireland, Praxis Care, Resilience Healthcare Limited, St John of God Community Services CLG were found to be non-compliant, which meant that residents were not being adequately protected from the risk of infection. These providers were required to take actions to improve their infection prevention and control arrangements. 

Examples of areas requiring improvement observed by inspectors included:

  • The arrangements for the use of and disinfection of medical equipment required review.
  • The storage of personal protective equipment (PPE) required review to ensure its cleanliness and reduce risk of infection.
  • Effective maintenance arrangements to ensure premises were in a good state of repair and reduce risk of spread of infection.
  • Review of IPC policies to ensure up to date and effectively informed staff knowledge and practice.

Read all reports at the link below.

  • Reports published Tuesday 8 November