A significant number of younger people in Ireland are living ‘wasted lives’ in nursing homes, according to a new report.
The report from the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner warns that it is inappropriate for younger people with disabilities to be placed in nursing homes.
There are more than 1,300 people under the age of 65 living in nursing homes in Ireland, according to the HSE.
The report finds that many believed their stay was temporary, and some did not give their informed consent when they were being placed in a home long-term.
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said people are being left with 'no option' but to live in nursing homes due to a lack of State support.
“We had people who, for instance, were struggling to have relationships in the context of living in a shared room in a nursing home,” he said.
“We had one gentleman say to us that he had been assaulted and as a consequence had been admitted to a nursing home and that his assailant would be out of prison before he managed to get out of the nursing home.”
He said many want to be supported to live at home but feel abandoned by the State.
“The first thing that needs to happen is there needs to be a detailed survey of the people and what their wishes are,” he said.
“At the moment, no one has spoken to them all; there is no database recording them.
“But the main thing is priority has to be given for expenditure on this. I realise it is all a matter of choices as to where we put our money but this is very important because, as people told us, their lives are being wasted.”
In a statement, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the Programme for Government commits to “reducing and providing a pathway to eliminate the practice of accommodating young people with serious disabilities in nursing homes.”
The Minister of State Anne Rabitte said a new HSE pilot project aims to move 18 people from nursing homes to “more appropriate housing options in the community.”