Disability services publication statement 8 March 2023

Date of publication:

Today, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published 30 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 21 centres inspected with findings of either compliance or substantial compliance with Regulation 27. 

Good practice was observed by inspectors in centres operated by: Avista CLG, Brothers of Charity Services Ireland CLG, Communicare Agency Ltd, Enable Ireland Disability Services Limited, Health Service Executive, Muiríosa Foundation, Peter Bradley Foundation Company Limited by Guarantee, St John of God Community Services CLG, Sunbeam House Services Company Limited by Guarantee, Talbot Care Unlimited Company, Terra Glen Residential Care Services Limited, The Cheshire Foundation in Ireland, and The Rehab Group.

Examples of good practice included:

  • Clear strategies were in place for infection prevention and control, including a management plan in the event of an outbreak 
  • Staff had access to ample supplies of personal protection equipment and were appropriately trained in its use 
  • Audit arrangements ensured infection prevention and control arrangements were reviewed in order to ensure their ongoing effectiveness.

Centres operated by Muríosa Foundation, Nua Healthcare Services Limited, Saint Patrick’s Centre (Kilkenny), St Hilda’s Services, St John of God Community Services CLG, Stewarts Care Limited, Sunbeam House Services Company Limited by Guarantee, The Cheshire Foundation in Ireland, 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 arrangements. 

Examples of areas requiring improvement observed by inspectors included:

  • Cleaning systems were not effective in ensuring residents were protected against the risk of infection
  • Areas for improvement identified in infection prevention and control (IPC) audits had not been addressed in a timely manner
  • Staff required IPC training which posed a risk to effective implementation of IPC measures in the centre.

Read all reports at the link below.

  • Reports published 8 March 2023