A Cork nursing home has announced that it will be permanently closing its doors after 34 years in business.
Strawhall Nursing Home in Fermoy, which was first established in 1988, has said they have made the decision to close "with heavy hearts."
This comes as Nursing Homes Ireland is warning of "more closures in the weeks and months to come," as a number of nursing homes have been in touch with the organisation about closing their doors as well due to rising costs and lack of long-term funding.
In a statement on their website, Strawhall Nursing Home said that the decision to close was a "difficult one," not taken lightly.
"We are proud of the homely environment we created over the years and the high quality of care we delivered. However, the viability of our small family-run nursing home is now facing a number of significant challenges which unfortunately it cannot overcome," they explained.
Strawhall has a maximum occupancy of 30 residents.
In their online statement management said: "During this difficult transition we will work with residents, staff, and families."
A representative for the nursing home declined to comment on when it is set to close, what communication families and residents have received so far, and how many people are residents there at the moment when asked by the.
“This is heartbreaking news for the residents and their families,” said Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly.
“Unfortunately, this closure is part of a wider trend. Between 2018 and 2021 HIQA reported 29 closures, and in the last few weeks alone we have seen 12 closures, with 600 residents being displaced as a result, and jobs being lost. Those numbers are drastic."
Mr Daly explained that though the recent pressures of the energy prices and inflation have added to the challenges facing private and voluntary nursing homes, the long-term issue for the sector was an “unsustainable and unfair funding strategy.”
He said that if the Government does not take immediate action to remedy the situation, "many more nursing homes are coming to close between now and winter."
"Homes across the country are already in touch with us and expressing their worries, including other nursing homes in Cork," he said.
“The Fair Deal funding is discriminatory in the way it awards funds to public and private and voluntary homes.
“The state pays itself €1,600 per week to look after residents, in my eyes that’s an acceptance that that is what it costs, but they are forcing many homes to survive on less."
He urged Cork families, and those with relatives in nursing homes across Ireland not to panic over further potential closures.
“Nursing homes are incredibly resilient, and alternative care will be found for displaced residents who have lost their homes. There are immediate solutions available here, but the Government needs to take action.”
Labour TD for Cork East Seán Sherlock said the closure of the Strawhall Nursing Home was "devastating."
"This is a vital service and a mainstay of nursing home care in our community," he said.
"The HSE must intervene to see if the service can be retained. There aren’t enough nursing home or respite beds in North Cork at present.”