Disability services publication statement 26 August 2022

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published 36 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 36 centres inspected. While only two centres were found to be fully compliant with Regulation 27, a further 27 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. 

Good practice was observed by inspectors in centres operated by: Ability West, Avista CLG, Brothers of Charity Services Ireland CLG, Dara Residential Services, Delta Centre CLG, Dundas Unlimited Company, Embrace Community Services Ltd, Health Service Executive (HSE), Peamount Healthcare, Praxis Care, St Christopher's Services CLG, St John of God Community Services CLG, St Michael's House, Sunbeam House Services CLG, The Rehab Group, Waterford Intellectual Disability Association CLG, and Western Care Association.

Examples of good practice included:

  • Clear governance arrangements relating to infection, prevention and control arrangements were in place at the centre.
  • Infection prevention and control policies and staff guidance were kept under review to ensure they were up to date and effective.
  • Residents and staff were kept informed about infection, prevention and control arrangements at the centre through regular meetings and available relevant information.
  • Specific management audits completed at the centre ensured residents were protected from the risk of infection and practices reflected current public health guidance.

Seven centres operated by GALRO Unlimited Company, HSE, Saint Patrick's Centre (Kilkenny), St John of God Community Services CLG, Talbot Care Unlimited Company, The Rehab Group, and Walkinstown Association For People With An Intellectual Disability 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:

  • Governance arrangements did not identify all infection, prevention and control risks and put appropriate measures in place.   
  • The premises of some centres were not in a good state of repair and condition, resulting in an increased risk of infection occurring. 
  • Providers had not ensured that staff had access to up-to-date training and guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Providers had not ensured that procedures were in place for the cleaning of equipment and storage of cleaning products.
  • Providers had not ensured that staff were aware of procedures to be implemented in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.

Read all reports at the link below.

  • Reports published 26 August 2022