Clarity sought from NPHET & Government re IPC measures in nursing homes as support withdrawnFriday June 11, 2021
11th June 2021: Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has described the decision by Government to cease funding supports for intensified Infection Prevention Control measures that are recommended by the Covid19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel for nursing home care as grossly irresponsible and a retrograde step for nursing home care. NHI states the decision to cease the Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme (TAPS) at the end of the month represents abandonment of Government support for measures that have become embedded in nursing home care practice.
NHI has written to NPHET and the Ministers for Health and Older People seeking clarity if existing IPC measures should be maintained or reduced.
The scheme has principally encompassed increased deployment of staff and introduction of and extra utilisation of specialised equipment. Nursing homes have expressed dismay and shock regarding the cessation of the scheme and have queried how they can continue to fund measures that have become embedded within their care practice but are not recoverable under the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal).
NHI CEO Tadhg Daly states: “This is a grossly irresponsible decision and defies logic. The Covid19 Expert Panel has recommended nursing home care shift towards a more medical model through implementation of intensified infection prevention control measures. No dedicated funding support has been made available by Government to implement the recommendations, almost a year after the Expert Panel produced its recommendations, and TAPS has acted as a bridge to enable measures be implemented. We want clarity from Government. Are the measures supported by the scheme now embedded within nursing home care practice to cease. If learnings and recommendations are to be achieved from Covid19 for nursing homes, they need to be supported by the State. Fair Deal, which is largely responsible for funding nursing home resident care, does not encompass Covid19 measures. Nursing homes are firmly of the view there is need for strengthened IPC measures going beyond Covid19 and are committed to implementation of the Expert Panel recommendations. It is of extreme concern the State is planning to completely withdraw this support that has become so vital and sends a very worrying signal nursing home care will again be de-prioritised within our health services as we emerge from Covid19. It is astonishing and incredulous that the first cut-off in sectoral support is targeted at the nursing home sector which experienced the most devastating impact of Covid19.”
The planned withdrawal comes in the face of continued concerns regarding new variants of Covid19 emerging and warnings of a fourth wave.
Nursing home providers can be available to discuss the challenges presented by cessation of TAPS. Media interviews will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive who can be contacted at 087 9082970.
Note for Editor
TAPS only allows costs be reclaimed on an evidence-based basis. It represents reimbursement for evidence-based expenditure for measures not encompassed under the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal) to strengthen measures to protect residents.
Examples of TAPS supports for nursing homes:
- Increase in maintenance staff to support intensified IPC measures more in keeping with a medical care model
- Introduction of specialised IPC equipment to support intensified sanitisation procedures
- Additional carer hours to support residents
- Additional resourcing necessary to implement and manage restricted and new visiting arrangements
- Provision of dedicated isolation spaces for residents
- Rearrangement of nursing home outlays to encompass new living arrangements, with this having staffing implications.
- Support for new role of IPC Nurse Specialist, as per Covid19 Expert Panel recommendations
- Additional staff hours as per regulator requirement arising from Covid19.