Friday, April 29, 2016

Excellent 'report card' for Camphill in Kilcullen

When the acronym HIQA appears in the news media, it is generally a bad news story, writes Brian Byrne. This is refreshingly not the case with the recent inspection of the Bridge Camphill Community by the Health Information and Quality Authority, which the Community passed with flying colours.

It was the first inspection of the designated centre for people with disabilities since it was established in Kilcullen more than two decades ago. The inspectors examined it under 18 headings ranging from 'Residents Rights, Dignity and Consultation' through 'Safeguarding and Safety' to 'Governance and Management' and much in between.

The subsequent Report logged no non-compliances, and was very complimentary overall of the centre which has become so much a part of the overall community of Kilcullen. In just three of the areas of inspection were there small issues which needed to be dealt with, relating to procedures in Social Care Needs, Safeguarding & Safety, and Records & Documentation.

Indeed, beyond the necessarily dry words of the Report itself, we understand that the inspectors made many verbal comments about Bridge Camphill, such as being 'blown away by what we saw in the two days we were here in relation to integration and inclusion within the wider community'.

The Report noted the particular Camphill model of such centres whereby residents shared their homes with co-worker volunteers and with a mix of professional staff. The inspectors found that residents 'were provided with a very good standard of service and residents were found to enjoy a good quality of life' at the Kilcullen centre. Residents and their families alike were 'very positive' about the service model, and levels of social activation and meaningful engagement were cited by families as being 'very person centred and supportive'.

The staff at Bridge Camphill were themselves very pleased with the result, after being somewhat nervous in advance of the first inspection of the centre. "Given that there is a new scandal in relation to disability centres and HIQA Compliance reports in the press every other week, it's nice to also celebrate such an achievement which gives local people confidence in supporting a worthwhile cause," Mischa Fekete, as person in charge, said afterwards.

The 25-page Report is available from the HIQA website For anyone interested in the care and development of people with disabilities, it makes uplifting reading.

This article was first published in the Kildare Nationalist.