NURSING Homes Ireland (NHI) has called on the Government to act urgently in addressing the regulator HIQA’s concerns regarding the closure of small nursing homes.
The Independent authority stated the loss of smaller nursing homes should be considered in the context of a loss of a particular model of care. HIQA also stated the loss of the model will have implications for older person care, with nursing homes being removed from particular communities, resulting in people having to travel further to avail of care and issues arising with regard to visitor access, GP and pharmaceutical care.
Corkman Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO said: “There’s an immediate and a longer-term issue at play here. The current cost environment is intensively acute for all nursing homes. Smaller nursing homes are finding it extremely difficult and, for some, impossible to cope. Some have said it is just not viable to operate a nursing home and have closed their doors.”
Fourteen private and voluntary nursing homes with 411 registered beds (average 30) have closed their doors the past two years. A further three will be closing their doors in the weeks ahead, the NHI said.
Mr Daly said the NHI have engaged with the Minister for Older People Mary Butler and her officials on the extremity of the cost pressures and the emergency presenting for nursing home care over a period of months.
“There is requirement for an immediate intervention by the State through rollout of a mechanism that will support nursing homes, which are around-the-clock operators, in alleviating pressures emanating from the likes of energy and food costs,” Mr Daly said.