Disability services publication statement 18 July 2022

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published 25 inspection reports on 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, not just relating to 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 25 centres inspected. While only three centres were found to be fully compliant with Regulation 27, a further 11 centres were substantially compliant, which indicates they have good infection prevention and control measures in place, but aspects of those controls could be improved further.  Eleven centres operated by Northfields Respite Centre, Nua Healthcare Services Limited, Praxis Care, Saint Patrick’s Centre (Kilkenny), St Gabriel’s Foundation, St Michael’s House, Sunbeam House Services Company Limited, Talbot Care Unlimited, The Rehab Group, Waterford Intellectual Disability Association Company Limited and Western Care 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 (IPC) arrangements.  Good practice was observed by inspectors in centres operated by: Nua Healthcare Services Limited, Peamount Healthcare, Praxis Care, Resilience Healthcare Limited, St John of God Community Services Company Limited by Guarantee, St Michael's House, The Cheshire Foundation in Ireland, The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, The Rehab Group and Waterford Intellectual Disability Association Company Limited. Examples included: 


  • Residents were supported, following the removal of public health restrictions, to access their local community and activities they enjoyed. Easy-to-read information was made available to residents to increase their knowledge on how to prevent infection, especially the transmission of COVID-19. 
  • Providers had developed comprehensive contingency plans for operation in the event of an outbreak of infection.
  • Providers ensured that both residents and staff were updated on changes to infection prevention and control measures through regular meetings
  • Staff had access to up-to-date infection prevention and control training, as well as frequently reviewed and revised IPC policies
  • Management audits ensured that each centre’s IPC arrangements continued to be effective.

Examples of areas requiring improvement observed by inspectors included:

  • Residents’ care plans did not include infection control risks relevant to their individual care and support.
  • The identification, assessment and review of Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC)-related risks needed to be improved, to ensure they reflected the ongoing review of current control measures in place. 
  • Cleaning schedules needed improvement to ensure actions were completed and arrangements in place were effective, especially in relation to equipment to support residents’ needs such as ball pits and sensory mats.
  • Some centres needed improvements to ensure they were in good condition, and mitigated against identified IPC risks through promoting overall hygiene and cleanliness.
  • IPC-related risk assessments were not consistently in place to guide staff members on how to address the risk of infection.
  • Providers did not consistently ensure that appropriate storage arrangements were in place for PPE supplies and cleaning equipment.

Read all reports at the link below.

  • Reports published Monday 18 July