As nursing homes close the disruption to older residents is immeasurableFriday February 10, 2023
10th February 2023: Regional Group TDs met with voluntary and private nursing home representatives to discuss the struggle to stay open, which is a significant issue of concern within our communities as it is forcing families to travel much further to avail of a nursing home place. Rising costs last year forced 17 private nursing homes to close their doors, many of which were family run homes.
People need these nursing homes so those residing there can be close to loved ones and within their own community. 80% of nursing home beds are in the private and voluntary sectors. With our aging population we will need an additional 1,500 beds annually for the next ten years. Instead, there has been a loss 500 beds in the last year alone. The disruption to families and heartbreak caused to older residents forced to leave the place they call home is immeasurable.
Smaller nursing homes located in rural Ireland face closure as the Fair Deal subsidy is failing to match rising costs. Each individual nursing home must negotiate its own fair deal. At present, public nursing homes run and staffed by the HSE receive up to 62% more per person per week than the older person in a private nursing home. Some public nursing homes receive substantially more under the Fair Deal Scheme, even though the public home may have fewer services for those living in that home.
Regional Group TDs are asking the Government to address these issues. There is capacity in these homes to support the hospital bed crisis. Given the ageing demographic, there will be a growing need for a range of long-term care, including nursing home care. However, if the Government continues to ignore these issues, the choice of nursing home setting available to older people and their families will be gone.
Regional group members state that voluntary and private nursing homes need to be able to plan for the next few years. Presently there is no encouragement to expand or build the new home beds that are needed to meet the growing needs. The availability of nursing home care is already an issue in our constituencies, with some people now being placed on waiting lists and will only worsen if the Government does not address this sector’s viability.