Disability services publication statement 11 January 2023

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published 39 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 32 centres inspected with findings of either compliance or substantial compliance with Regulation 27. 

Good practice was observed by inspectors in centres operated by: Autism Initiatives Ireland Company Limited; Avista CLG, Brothers of Charity Services Ireland CLG; ChildVision CLG; Communicare Agency Ltd; Delta Centre Company Limited; Dundas Unlimited Company; Gateway Community Care Limited; Health Service Executive (HSE); Muiríosa Foundation, Nua Healthcare Services Limited; Peter Bradley Foundation CLG; Praxis Care; Saint Patrick's Centre (Kilkenny); St Christopher's Services Company Limited; St John of God Community Services CLG; St Michael's House; Sunbeam House Services Company Limited and the Rehab Group.

Examples of good practice included:
•    Residents received visitors in line with prevailing public health guidance. 
•    Comprehensive care plans were in place to support residents in times of ill-health and included measures to be taken to reduce the likelihood of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection.
•    Centres were in a good state of repair, and visibly cleaned to a high standard.
•    Staff were aware of the cleaning that was required to be completed on a weekly and daily basis and were guided by centre-specific cleaning schedules and colour-coded systems. 
•    Policies and procedures were developed in line with national guidance on infection, prevention and control.

Seven centres operated by COPE Foundation, Carriglea Cairde Services, Nua Healthcare Services, Saint Patrick's Centre (Kilkenny), St John of God Community Services CLG, and Waterford Intellectual Disability Association 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:
•    Governance and oversight arrangements did not ensure that cleanliness levels were in line with best practice in infection, prevention and control standards.
•    Risk assessments required review to ensure they aligned with relevant guidance on visiting arrangements.
•    There were insufficient staff to ensure that infection, prevention and control needs could be adequately met.
•    The provision of adequate guidance for staff in the area of IPC including COVID-19 and the importance of a clean environment required review. 
•    Resident’s personal plans required review to ensure that all areas of infection prevention and control were addressed. 

Read all reports at the link below.

  • Reports published 11 January 2023