Ireland’s health watchdog is set to introduce new standards guidelines for nursing homes for the first time in five years, in an attempt to clean up the sector.
The Health Information Quality Authority (Hiqa) confirmed the move as it urged the public to take part in a consultation process on the new rules.
Between now and September 24, the independent state organisation is asking for advice and views from nursing-home owners, residents, families and other interested parties on issues relating to the quality of life people have in the vital facilities.
The public submissions will then feed into a document which has already been drawn up in draft format, citing additional reforms which nursing homes and other residential care units for older people must implement.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation plan, Hiqa’s director of quality and safety improvement, Marie Kehoe O Sullivan noted the vast majority of the 566 units — which will fall under the new standards — are operating to a high level.
However, given a number of difficulties highlighted in recent Hiqa inspection reports, she said it was essential that reforms first introduced in 2009 were built on further to ensure the safety and quality of life of people at the facilities.
“The current standards are now five years old, and nursing home care has moved on during this time,” the senior official said.
The move to introduce fresh reforms has been welcomed by Minister of State for Primary and Social Care, Kathleen Lynch.
“Standards promote health, well-being and quality of life. I would urge residents and their families, in particular, to take this opportunity to inform the development of the final set of standards. They can provide valuable insights on the quality of the service provided,” she said.
Anyone seeking to take part in the consultation can do so until September 24.
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