Sunday 18 August 2019

Average fees for nursing home care hit €1,615 a week

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The average weekly cost of caring for a resident in a nursing home is now €1,615 - up from €1,592 last year.

Figures also revealed the highest weekly cost per resident is in the HSE-run St Finbarr's Hospital in Cork, where it has reached €2,182.

The home was criticised during a visit by health watchdog Hiqa inspectors last year, who said there were no suitable facilities for families to spend time alone with residents approaching the end of life.

They found inadequate fire safety precautions as drills did not involve a full evacuation.

The weekly costs are the fees set with the nursing home under the Fair Deal scheme, which subsidises care.

A resident in the Fair Deal scheme is only liable for the amount they are assessed as being eligible to pay after a means test, regardless of the cost of the home they live in.

It means that because of a State subsidy, a resident in a more expensive nursing home does not pay a higher weekly fee than a cheaper home if they are in the Fair Deal scheme.

The weekly cost per resident in a private nursing home varies from around €850 to €1,250 per week.

The dearest private homes tend to be in Dublin, with the Orwell House Nursing Home in Rathgar charging €1,250 a week.

Nursing Homes Ireland, which represents private nursing homes, has long claimed the HSE is being unfair in paying its own public nursing homes higher weekly rates.

The HSE, which published the figures, said the increasing weekly cost of a public nursing home stay, all of which are over €1,300, is linked to pay increases due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

It is acknowledged that there are variations in the prices charged for public and private nursing homes. Public homes generally have a higher cost of care, the HSE said.

This is due to various factors, including a drop in public beds numbers and closures of old residences which do not meet standards.

Modernisation of homes has meant substantial capital funding is going into refurbishment, while the HSE provides centres in areas which are "not viable for a private provider", such as Achill Island, it added.

The HSE insisted public nursing homes generally have higher nurse staffing ratios in place. Public homes have to pay public service rates.

"Due to the public sector recruitment moratorium, which was in place for the last number of years, the public homes relied on agency staff to support adequate safe levels of service," it added.

Irish Independent

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