Many nursing homes in Ireland are at risk of closure because their operational costs are “out of control”, an industry insider has warned.
Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, said the cost of living crisis is presenting the sector with huge challenges and that there simply is not enough state support at the moment:
“Ultimately it’s down to funding, this isn’t a new phenomenon,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“29 [nursing homes] closed between 2018 and 2021, we’ve seen 11 this year to date and our fear is if we don’t stabilise the sector quickly we’ll be into a full blown crisis.”
Currently, the state makes an assessment as to what an individual or family can afford to pay and the HSE pays the balance under the Fair Deal scheme. However, Mr Daly believes the model is hopeless out of date in the current economic climate:
“The Government know Fair Deal is not fit for purpose," he continued.
"There’s a myriad of reports that have been commissioned and published by the Government themselves.
“They’ve long-fingered the required changes to Fair Deal but now it’s brought it into very sharp focus.”
He added wearily, “The costs are out of control and the funding mechanism is not keeping anywhere close to pace with that inflation.”
And it is not an issue in certain parts of the country, Mr Daly says the issue of nursing home closures is nationwide:
“We’ve seen it in Roscommon, we’ve seen it in Cork, we’ve seen it in Waterford, we’ve seen it in Dublin,” he lamented.
“So every region where they’ve had the smaller homes, many of those either have closed or are contemplating their future.
“So it’s going to have a huge impact on those communities.”
Mr Daly says he has made representations to the Government on the issue and says the response from the minister has been “positive”.
In a statement the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler said:
"I am acutely aware of the financial challenges faced by the Nursing Home sector, particularly in terms of inflationary cost increases. I have engaged with the sector on this issue and asked my Department to consider appropriate responses.
Main image: People in a nursing home. Picture by: RollingNews.ie