Ireland, a Country in Crisis, Homelessness, Housing, Cronyism, now Nursing Homes, our Vulnerable Elderly? The Fianna Fail, Legacy, of Toxic Corruption, Troy, Donnelly, and Kelleher, Lord Mayor, of Cork?

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Calls for urgent help to tackle ‘full-blown crisis’ of nursing home closures

 2nd September 2022

The Government has been told to act urgently to stem the growing number of nursing homes closing amid claims some owners are opting for the more lucrative housing of Ukrainian refugees instead.

Tadhg Daly, of Nursing Homes Ireland, said “if we don’t act now there will be more closures” and added that the rising cost of running these facilities for older residents is threatening their sustainability.

In the last two weeks, four private nursing homes deregistered with the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), while eight have closed this year and 29 closed between 2018 and 2021.

Nursing homes are being forced to close because of the lack of financial supports, Mr Daly said.

The people being forced to close their premises were “heartbroken and devastated” for themselves, for their residents, their staff and their communities, he added.

Mr Daly said this has now become a “full-blown crisis

He added that he did not know of any nursing home owner who was shutting down to switch to housing refugees.

Mr Daly added that while energy costs are a factor, there are much bigger issues around the level of funding private and voluntary nursing homes get under the Fair Deal scheme. He said this needs to be addressed.

There have been continuing tensions over the level of support residents of HSE-run nursing homes get under the Fair Deal scheme compared with private nursing homes.

The level of frustration within the sector is “extraordinary”, according to Mr Daly, who said he had expected additional support measures by early July.

He said nursing homes that intend to shut must give Hiqa six months’ notice before doing so.

That allows residents to move to alternative accommodation and also gives staff time to seek alternative employment.

Minister for Older People Mary Butler said there is huge reliance on private and voluntary nursing homes.

“Nobody takes the decision lightly to close,” she said.

Ms Butler added that she is working on a scheme of supports she hopes will be finalised in the coming weeks.

A report, published more than six months ago, on fees paid under the Fair Deal scheme showed public nursing homes were paid 62pc more per resident per week than private nursing homes.

The report, from the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure and Reform as well as other bodies, showed the average price paid to a private and voluntary nursing home from the Nursing Home Support Scheme (NHSS) was €992 per resident per week. This compares with €1,616 for public nursing homes.

Public nursing homes had additional costs of €100 per resident per week on average that were covered by wider health budgets, which if charged to the NHSS would put the cost differential at 73pc.

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