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ESRI report emphasises critical role fulfilled by nursing homes in alleviating hospital overcrowding

Wednesday September 18, 2019

Government speaks from both sides of mouth when speaking of care in the community

Nursing Homes Ireland notes with interest the report published by the ESRI today, 18th September, An Analysis of the Effects on Irish Hospital Care of the Supply of Care Inside and Outside the Hospital. A key finding within the report is a 10 per cent increase in supply of nursing home beds would equate to approximately 19,000 fewer inpatient bed days per annum, the equivalent of 53 inpatient beds daily.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “The report emphasises the critical role fulfilled by nursing home care in the provision of specialist healthcare within our communities and in fulfilling a lead role in alleviating pressures upon our acute hospitals. It informs the predominant ‘substitution’ for acute care is nursing home care. Increased utilisation of nursing home care can deliver the equivalent of 53 inpatient bed days on a daily basis and alleviate long-term stays within our acute hospitals by seven days, it finds.

“While the ESRI makes the key link between nursing home beds and fewer inpatients, the Cabinet continues to conceal the critical review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism, now two years’ hidden from the Dáil.  That pricing review needs to be published immediately and the Government needs to increase Fair Deal fees to reflect the true cost of care provided by nursing homes to people with very high dependency care needs.

“We have a Government on the one hand stating we are going in the right direction for Sláintecare, while on the other it stands idly by as nursing homes close their doors and it sits on the review of the Fair Deal pricing mechanism that is now two years delayed. HIQA, the independent regulator of nursing home care, has over the past two years expressed concern regarding the closure of smaller nursing homes because the Fair Deal scheme is not meeting the reality of the costs entailed to provide nursing home care. Yet the review that was originally due for completion two years ago has been sitting within Government.  And this Government’s failure to appropriately fund the Fair Deal scheme to meet requirement for nursing home care has resulted in over 800 people awaiting nursing home care financial support. The words of this Government do not equate to action.

“The report importantly looks to the future. It states decisions are required regarding investment in and planning for nursing home and home care services, highlighting the growing demands that will be placed upon our health services and health workforce arising from considerable growth in our older population. It presses the importance of resourcing our healthcare services to meet the projected increase for such arising from the increase in ageing of our population. For a number of years we have advanced Government must lead in bringing stakeholders around the table to input into policy and resourcing to meet the growing demand for healthcare services amongst our older population. The time to plan for the huge growth for healthcare services for our older population is now. This report is further evidence of the critical importance for Government leadership in this regard.”

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO is available for further interview. Contact Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications and Research Executive at 01 4699806 or 087 9082970.