Investigations Launched into Care Home Abuse
Nine staff from the Áras Attracta care home – the intellectual disability centre featured in Primetime´s “Inside Bungalow Three” documentary – have been suspended while investigations are launched into allegations of care home abuse.
The staff were suspended prior to the showing of the RTÉ documentary, in which secretly shot footage showed care home abuse to three women with intellectual disabilities, after a preview of the broadcast had been shown to officials from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Four investigations have been launched in total – two by the HSE, one by the Gardaí and one by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) who are responsible for monitoring the standard of care in Ireland´s care homes.
“Inside Bungalow Three” was filmed by an undercover reporter posing as a work experience student after Primetime investigators had been tipped off about the care home abuse by a former employee after her complaints to senior management were ignored.
The program showed distressing scenes of physical and verbal abuse – the residents being force-fed, slapped and kicked – and scenes of psychological abuse – such as when a 75-year-old resident is kept seated in the same position for six hours.
The care home abuse was condemned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who described the failure in the standard of care as “sickening”, and by Eamon Timmins – CEO of Age Action, who said “Age Action condemns the inhuman, degrading and abusive treatment highlighted in tonight’s Prime Time Investigates programme.”
Further condemnation of the care home abuse came from Hiqa´s Chief Executive Phelim Quinn, who said that he was “appalled” that such behaviour could occur in a centre housing “probably some of the most vulnerable in our society”, while Tony O´Brien – the Director General of the HSE – said that the level of care was “totally unacceptable”.
The HSE also publicly apologised to the residents and their families for the care home abuse. A statement said that the HSE did not wish to “pre-empt the findings of an independent investigation” but had taken immediate steps to ensure a caring a safe environment is now in pace for the residents of Áras Attracta.