November is an important milestone for children and adults with disabilities using residential services in Offaly, as independent inspection of the services will begin nationwide to drive improvements in the safety and quality of care being provided.
For the first time, the Health Information and Quality Authority will be responsible for the registration and inspection of all residential services for children and adults with disabilities, including respite services, HSE run services and private and voluntary services. So, what will this mean for the people of Offaly?
This new development is a significant step in the protection of people with disabilities living in residential care settings across the country. It means that from now on, children and adults who use disability services and their families will know what they should expect, and service providers will know what is expected of them in delivering a person-centred, high quality and safe service.
In Ireland, there are about 9,800 people with disabilities living in approximately 1,300 residential services with over 100 people across Offaly using these services. These are run by 88 different service providers across Ireland, including a mix of State (HSE) and other service providers. It is the first time any of these services will have been subject to independent inspection.
When inspecting the centres, HIQA will use Regulations and the National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities published by the Authority in May 2013. These standards focus on the outcomes to be achieved for the adults and children receiving services.
The Standards are grouped under eight key themes and cover a number of areas including respecting peoples’ autonomy, privacy and dignity and promoting their rights. They cover everyday concerns for children and adults with disabilities living in residential services and their families such as the quality of care provided, how people are protected from abuse, how privacy is respected, and whether a person-centred care plan is in place for each resident.
HIQA’s registration and inspection process will be completely independent and reports will be published after every inspection.
As with our inspection of residential services for older people, if the Health Information and Quality Authority’s inspectors find that a service is unsafe, or the National Standards and regulations are not being met, we will have the legal power to take a number of actions in the best interest of those living in the residential service. This may include refusal to register the service so that it cannot operate, prosecution or adding registration conditions to the services, such as limiting the amount of people it can accommodate. In situations where there is significant risk to the life or to the health or welfare of residents, immediate cancellation of the service’s registration.
We at the Health Information and Quality are proud to begin this new process of regulation. We have been working with the advocacy groups representing people with disabilities and their families as well as with those providing the services to ensure a smooth transition. From November, we can begin driving improvements and safeguarding children and adults with disabilities living in residential services across Offaly and the rest of the country.
More about registration and inspection
In order to be allowed to register to operate as a residential service for children and adults with disabilities, providers will have to register with us and prove that the service they are providing is able to meet the needs of their residents.
HIQA will inspect residential services for children and adults with disabilities on phased basis after November 2013, and will re-register each residential service every three years. We already inspect children’s residential care centres and residential centres for older people, and similarly to these, inspections of residential services for children and adults with disabilities will be a mixture of both announced and unannounced visits. These will happen by day and also in the evenings, at weekends and at night.
During an inspection visit, inspectors will talk to the children and adults living in the residential service along with their families and with managers, staff and interested
people who wish to speak to them. Inspectors will focus on the experience of the person living in the residential service and what it is like to live there. They will also observe daily routines, quality of accommodation and meals, and other aspects of daily life.
Following an inspection, a report will be published on our website. The report gives an overview of what it is like to live in the centre, and will include factual information about the residential services, the number of places and general facilities but will also highlight where standards of care are good as well as where improvements are required. Any actions we feel the provider needs to take will be clearly indicated in the report and we will follow up on these to ensure they are taken.
More information is available
More information on the registration and inspection of residential services for children and adults with disabilities, as well as on the National Standards, is available from our website; www.hiqa.ie or write to: Health Information and Quality Authority
Georges Court, Georges Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7.