Nursing homes deny charging residents for mass

Elderly residents are reportedly being asked to pay a €20 fee for religious services

Nursing homes deny charging residents for mass

File photo of a Dublin nursing home, 22-12-2004. Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews

The organisation representing private and voluntary nursing homes has rejected claims that residents are being charged to attend mass.

The Irish Independent has reported that elderly residents are being asked to pay a €20 fee for religious services at some homes.

It is the latest 'top-up' charge levied on vulnerable old people - who are already paying for their care under the Fair Deal scheme.

The levy has been brought to the attention of the HSE and the Health Minister is being urged to name and shame the residential properties responsible.

However, on The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the  chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland, Tadhg Daly said mass is never a separate or additional charge:

"Religious services may be included as part of a bundle of services but the idea that someone would be charged for mass or that an older person would be prohibited from entering the day room when some sort of religious service is on - I don't believe that is the case at all," he said.

Independent councillor Christy Burke has written to the Health Minister Simon Harris urging him to take action and name the nursing homes responsible.

A recent report from Age Action warned that nursing home residents are being forced to pay up to €100 per week in additional charges for services including social activities, incontinence pads and therapies.

The charity has called for greater transparency and accountability regarding the fees charged by nursing homes - amid calls for all top up fees to be clearly and publicly displayed.

The group has warned that nursing home charges must be properly regulated to combat overpricing, with residents encouraged to take any complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman.

It was reported late last month that the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has begun working with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to draw up a detailed standard contract to regulate top-up fees at nursing homes.