herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

€240m investment now needed for care homes, insists HSE

Aras Attracta care centre in Mayo is being investigated
Aras Attracta care centre in Mayo is being investigated

A massive €240m investment is needed to accommodate close to 3,000 people with disabilities in suitable homes, according to the HSE.

The HSE presented a detailed costings submission to the Department of Health in June, based on a 2011 report on 'congregated setting'.

The report recommended that thousands of people with disabilities living in large care centres should be moved to new, smaller homes that would allow them to live a more normal life in a more normal setting.

The 75-page document outlines that €19m is required to meet the living needs of more than 230 people who are living in the larger institutional centres, according to RTE.

Scrutiny

These larger homes have been under intense scrutiny from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

Of the €240m, the HSE is believed to be requesting an initial €79m to cover the costs of moving almost 1,000 residents into more suitable accommodation.

This will cover the first three "strands" of a four-strand project.

The fourth strand will be applied to cater for the other 1,800 disabled people in question, at a cost of €160m.

Strand one and two of the project could possibly go ahead as soon as this year, but that depends solely when capital funding will be released.

Only last week, a damning report was released by the Health Information and Quality Authority on the poor standards at 20 care homes across the country.

Two care homes run by the St Patrick's Centre Ltd in Kilkenny raised serious concerns - the St Michael's Centre for disabilities and St Patrick's Children's Services, which are both located on the same grounds.

The report found "major non-compliance" at both homes.

Concerns were raised over the "unclean" St Michael's Centre, which found two rodent traps in the dining room area of one of the bungalows.

Flooring was in disrepair throughout and wardrobes were in need of replacing.

The Health Information and Quality Authority provided St Michael's Centre with an "immediate action plan" to address the issue.

Management at the St Michael's Centre are said to be committed to implementing any changes required.

The organisation has also said that a full-time nurse position, along with 85 extra healthcare hours, has already been introduced.

Inspectors found that children's rights, complaints, emergency admissions, contracts and personal planning required improvements at the St Patrick's Children's Services centre.

The centre provides care for up to 10 children with intellectual disabilities and autism.

Pressure

The Department of Health is said to be aware of the increasing pressure from HIQA to act upon the poor quality and deficiencies within a number of their disability centres.

It also emerged last week that three staff members at the Aras Attracta care centre in Mayo had been removed from duty with pay following an investigation into alleged abuses at the centre.

Another employee has been place under increased supervision at the home, which cares for people with challenging behaviour.

Six people are also facing charges of assaulting residents at the home, after an RTE exposé on the home in December.

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