Reports of abuse from elderly care homes rise by a fifth

Age Action express concern at Hiqa findings

The number of reports of abuse in elderly care homes rose by almost a fifth last year.

The latest report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) shows that there were 424 allegations of 'suspected or confirmed abuse of a resident' at state-monitored nursing homes in Ireland last year.

This is compared to 357  in 2014 – a rise of 67.

Age Action expressed concern at the rise in abuse allegations.

"It is essential that all of these cases are reported to the HSE’s elder abuse case-workers and properly investigated," he said.

Mary Dunnion, chief inspector with HIQA said that progress had been made in “some areas” in 2015, but that providers of residential care services “must continue to drive improvements in 2016″.

Under the Health Act 2007, those in charge of care centres are required to notify Hiqa of specified events regarding the disruption of care to residents.

The specific events include allegations of abuse, loss of power, unexpected deaths, staff misconduct and others.

In total, 10,572 notifications were issued in 2015 – with most (6,187) to do with a potential risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of nursing home residents.

Three elderly care homes were shut down last year.

Other figures are contained in Hiqa's annual report on the regulation of centres for old people show that 411 nursing home inspections were carried out last year, half of which were unannounced.

There are 577 centres to care for the elderly in Ireland, over three quarters of which are privately operated.