8th of March 2013: A funding bias towards institutional care?

An interesting article from Mary Minihan of The Irish Times which includes an argument from the The Third Age organisation that there is a “funding bias towards expensive institutional care” in the section of the HSE budget earmarked for older people. Hard to argue really as we know here at Be Independent Home Care we get many families on the phone enquiring whether the Fair Deal applies to Home Care - the answer is no. Biased funding towards Nursing Home Care .....maybe? Surely the client should choose whether they would like to apply the Fair Deal to Homecare or Nursing home care?

Read the full Irish Times here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2013/0308/1224330914572.html

O'Reilly criticises 'warehouse' elderly care

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has criticised what she called the “warehousing” of elderly people in private nursing homes designed “primarily for commercial profit”.

She said she disagreed with the “effective divesting of responsibility to a large degree from the public to the private sector” and said it was best for older people to remain in their own homes if possible.

Speaking at a Third Age event in Dublin yesterday, Ms O’Reilly said the “incentivisation” of private nursing homes allied to policy decisions to close down dozens of public facilities had resulted in purpose-built homes springing up with little connection to communities.

She said a friend had described one such home as “bright, shiny, new, clean, perfect”. It was located in the middle of a field, away from the nearest town centre: “A well-manicured warehouse built primarily for commercial profit.”

‘Something wrong’

Ms O’Reilly said there were some “wonderful” nursing homes that put the interests of individual residents to the fore, “but I think all of us intuitively feel there’s something wrong about this, this warehousing.”

She said the “increasing pervasiveness” of dementia would be one of the biggest problems facing society in the years ahead as people lived longer with such conditions.

Not everyone in nursing homes had dementia, “yet the way of life in some nursing homes, not all of them certainly, is little different for them”.

She said the maintenance of good mental and physical health was critical to well-being in later life, and this was the responsibility of those who delivered the health services.

Based on complaints to her office, Ms O’Reilly said the “relative paucity” of home supports and the difficulties often experienced in accessing them added another layer of stress to those who might well be able to live at home with some assistance.

Homecare support

Some homecare packages were so insubstantial they were barely worth having, she said. Private nursing homes could cost more than €1,000 a week: “Consider what home supports might be available for that.” She said institutions were considered easier to manage and administer.

Ms O’Reilly said society needed to stop thinking about old age as a problem, and instead see it as a natural part of the life cycle. The attitudes and actions of those in positions of authority needed to be recalibrated, she said.

She said her generation was at the point where parents or parents’ friends had in some cases either died or were incapacitated. Others had dementia; were very likely to have lost a partner; live in a nursing home; live alone or were occasionally being cared for in a family member’s home.

The Third Age organisation yesterday argued that there was a “funding bias towards expensive institutional care” in the section of the HSE budget earmarked for older people.

 

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