Older people cannot access nursing homes due to additional charges, report says

A report on nursing home charges published today says older people and their families are being stopped from accessing nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme because of additional charges.

Age Action, an advocacy group for older people, said it has been inundated with calls over charges amounting to thousands of euro a year being imposed on perspective residents.

Age Action's Justin Moran says those charges are now preventing people from taking up places they are qualified for.

"They were being quoted additional charges of €85-90 a week, they simply can't afford that."

He said that this causes restrictions on their choice of nursing home.

It emerged last week that residents are being charged weekly fees for activities they cannot necessarily take part in.

In a recent statement, Nursing Homes Ireland said that nursing homes are struggling to provide care for those who enter homes under the Fair Deal scheme.

"Prior to and since inception of the Fair Deal scheme, NHI has consistently highlighted the narrow definition of goods and services under the scheme and that State financial support to residents approved under the Fair Deal do not encompass the reality of the health and social care costs incurred to meet the day-to-day care and living requirements of persons requiring nursing home care."

The statement said that the Fair Deal scheme excluded care services which enhance their health and wellbeing such as social programmes, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other health and social care services.

"Because such services are expressly excluded under the Fair Deal, their costs are not included and nursing homes are required to charge for such services."

Meanwhile (updated at 11am), A group of Ireland’s leading not-for-profit organisations and campaigners today welcomed the launch by Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly of a consultation process on a new statutory home care scheme and encouraged members of the public to get involved.

A spokesperson for the group said: “This consultation process is a vital opportunity to develop a home care scheme that meets the preferences of people to remain living in their own homes and that is equitable, person-centred and well-resourced. It is also an opportunity for people who receive care, as well as those who deliver care, to have their voices heard."

Members of the public can participate in the consultation process until August 31 at this link.

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