02 Jul 2022

People with disabilities living in congregated settings have a poor quality of life - HIQA report

People with disabilities living in congregated settings have a poor quality of life - HIQA report

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an overview of its regulation in designated centres for people with disabilities in 2019.

HIQA carried out over 1,000 inspections in disability services in 2019. Inspections found that the majority of centres provided a good quality of care and support to residents and there was increased compliance in key areas, such as protection and social care, across centres since 2018.

However, many residents living in congregated settings experience a poor quality of service and life.  

HIQA’s deputy chief inspector of social services (disability) Finbarr Colfer said: “One in three residents continue to live in large institutions or campuses and are at greater risk of having a poor quality of life compared to residents who live in community settings.

"Residents in congregated settings were often separated from their local communities and continued to live in unsuitable, outdated accommodation.

"Important aspects of everyday life and person-centred care such as the privacy of your own room, being able to have local friends and having access to your own kitchen or laundry facilities are often compromised or unavailable to these residents.”

The report also outlines concerns over poor findings in relation to governance and management in a number of settings.

HIQA’s chief inspector of social services and director of regulation Mary Dunnion said: “While regulation has made a significant contribution to improving the lives, experiences and human rights of people living in these centres over the past six years, further work remains to be done.

"Regulations are the basic minimum standard of care that should be provided to people, and it is disheartening to continue to find people with disabilities living in designated centres who could not fully exercise their basic human rights.

"While primary responsibility for providing a safe and a good quality service to people with disabilities rests with the service providers, it is also imperative that the funders of these services ensure that public finances are being used to deliver a good quality and safe service.”

The report also highlights what residents told inspectors about their experiences of services and regulation, the need to ensure the rights of all people with disabilities are upheld, and the new challenges presented for services, providers and residents in 2020.

Mr Colfer continued: “HIQA will continue to promote service improvements and the rights and quality of life of people with disabilities living in designated centres, particularly those in campus and congregated settings.

"We are also aware that the Covid-19 pandemic poses huge challenges to the 9,000-plus people with disabilities living in designated centres, and their families, friends, advocates and providers.

"HIQA is committed to continuing to work with providers during these challenging times to ensure that the rights of residents are promoted and protected.”

Read the full report and infographic at

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