Hand holding mobile phone with Nursing Homes Ireland news on it

10 years of regulation of nursing homes

Wednesday July 3, 2019

Analysis highlights very high compliance levels within private and voluntary nursing homes

Nursing Homes Ireland has congratulated private and voluntary nursing homes on the achievements made over the 10 years of statutory regulation by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).  Tomorrow July 1st marks the anniversary of HIQA regulation commencing and when the agency assumed responsibility for the regulation and inspection of nursing home care.

Nursing Homes Ireland analysis of 385 HIQA inspection reports published for year 2018 highlights private and voluntary nursing homes are achieving overall compliance levels of 86%. The analysis was undertaken by Nursing Homes Ireland to coincide with the tenth anniversary of HIQA regulation of nursing homes, which commenced 1st July 2009.

Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO states: “The tenth anniversary of independent regulation of nursing home care provides timely opportunity to assess standards of care within our sector. Our analysis assessed all 385 inspection reports published by HIQA for the private and voluntary sector in 2018. The inspections entailed four of every five private and voluntary nursing homes. It informs of the very high care standards that are being achieved in the private and voluntary nursing homes that are operating in our communities across Ireland. We’re approaching 90% of all these nursing homes receiving full or substantial compliance with regulations that apply across nursing home life*. Focus upon the sector is traditionally negative, but it is important to recognise the very high standards that are being achieved by the providers and their staff in providing care on a 24 – 7 basis to people with high dependency care needs. This is evidenced by the inspection reports published by HIQA, the independent regulator. The very high standards being achieved are testament to the committed compassionate and dedicated care staff and providers operating in our nursing home sector across Ireland.

“These high standards are further reflected within Office of the Ombusdman and HIQA analyses of the sector. Commenting recently within his annual report for the year 2018, the Ombudsman said the 61 complaints his office had received for the year “is relatively small when you consider that there are 122 public nursing homes and 458 private nursing homes which cater for around 30,000 residents”. Five complaints were upheld by his Office, representing a minute number when considered in the context of 30,000 people availing of nursing home care. HIQA’s most recently published overview report for the sector, for the year 2017,  informed nursing homes are “striving beyond basic compliance with regulations”. HIQA stated: “Residents who spoke with our inspectors were mostly positive about their experiences of care. Feedback from residents and their families via questionnaires was also largely positive.””

Private and voluntary nursing homes provide nursing home care to circa 25,000 people and provide 81% of such care in Ireland.

Mr Daly used the opportunity to look to the future. “Nursing home residents have increasingly complex and high dependency care needs. Specialist healthcare settings across our communities employ high-skilled staff and are equipped to meet their health and social care needs. As we move into the next ten years post the advent of HIQA and introduction of Fair Deal, it is now imperative the funding model is fit for purpose. The long overdue review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism presents opportunity to compel it towards ensuring the high complexity and dependency care needs of nursing home residents are recognised by the scheme.”


Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO is available for further interview. Contact Michael McGlynn, Nursing Homes Ireland Communications and Research Executive at 01 4699800 / 087 9082970 or Stephen Fitzpatrick, Q4 PR at 086 0870501.    

*Note for Editor: Inspections assess nursing homes’ compliance against a selection of individual regulations from the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2013 (as amended) and the Health Act 2007 (Registration of Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2015. Each individual regulation that is inspected against within the nursing home receives a judgement of either compliant; substantially compliant or not compliant. Our analysis provides a total overall compliance for the private and voluntary sector based on the judgements awarded per each regulation inspected.