The Irish Independent reports that “ ELDERLY people in need of a nursing home bed are the latest victims of health service cuts, with growing numbers having to pay out up to €1,000 a week for their care.

The HSE, which is facing a €500m overrun, is slowing down the release of funding due to people who have qualified for a nursing fee subsidy under the Fair Deal scheme.

It means that older people who have been approved for the subsidy are facing delays of up to three months before getting a public or private nursing home bed.

Many are having to pay the nursing home’s weekly charge in the meantime, which can be as high as €1,000 while on the waiting list”

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But what about Home Care.  There is a significant proportion of persons currently in nursing homes who, with the right support, could be cared for in their own homes.

Reports have shown that 30% of people in nursing homes would not need to reside there if the relevant care was provided in a home scenario. So surely with this pressure on Nursing Homes, these beds must be kept for those that really require this type of care. With Ireland having 35% more persons per head of population in nursing homes than the EU average, there is a reasonable assumption that one third of fair deal patients could be better off in terms of well-being if they remained in their home, until dependency requirements increase.

This is a genuine and real issue and that is why the organisation that Be Independent Home Care  are part of the HCCI are pushing for regulation. It is vitally important that HIQA is given the statutory powers to regulate all areas of the home care sector as a matter of urgency. In the absence of State regulation HCCI requires its members to adhere to a code of conduct based on international best practice guidelines. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all operators, and that is why legislation is so urgently needed.