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"Unfair Nursing Home Charges The Result Of State Underfunding & Care Profiteering"

Stock image: Pexels

Sage Advocacy called for a single tier ‘Sláintecare for social care’ system to be implemented an integrated system for long-term care covering nursing homes

Unfair nursing home charges are the result of long-term State underfunding and care profiteering, and reforms are urgently needed in the sector, according to Sage Advocacy.

Responding to a major media report by the Irish Mail on Sunday on unfair nursing home charges, Sage Advocacy is the National Advocacy Service for Older People, called for a single tier ‘Sláintecare for social care’ system to be implemented, an integrated system for long-term care covering homes, respite care and nursing homes.

The charity called for this to be developed with urgency by a Commission on Care for Older People, which was promised in the current Programme for Government.

Sage Advocacy CEO Mervyn Taylor said that in a recent review of cases the charity found growing levels of debt related to charges for services in private nursing homes, with some residents being charged over long periods of time for items that could have been purchased at a fraction of the charges.

“One resident was charged for gloves to stop them removing their incontinence wear.

"In another case a resident was faced with notice to quit because their family was unable to pay increased charges. We have also heard that some nursing home residents are being charged for religious services,” he said.

Mr Taylor welcomed a commitment made by the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler to a develop a new policy on additional charges, and also her comment that the State should be the main provider of long-term care.

He called on Government to act fully on its promise of a Commission on Care and get this work into operation, after Minster Butler said work on the Commission was underway.

“This government has less than 24 months to act on this promise. The ‘dangerous architecture’ on which the current system of care in congregated settings for older people is built, was shown to hold major flaws during Covid-19 and must be reformed," he added.

Mr Taylor said Sage had set out a pathway on what needed to be done, and how it could be achieved, in a report it published in 2020 called Choice Matters.

Choice Matters set out a roadmap for a single tier Sláintecare Social Care System including the key principles, design features, a list of agencies for a multi-agency approach, the legislation and regulation required, a funding model and what is required for implementation.

Emer Meighan, Regional Co- Ordinator for the Kildare and Dublin Southwest Area, Sage Advocacy spoke with Eoin Beatty on Kildare Today, listen back to the interview here:


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