Sunday 17 November 2019

Country's largest nursing home for residents with dementia may be forced to close

Stock image
Stock image

Eilish O’Regan

The country’s largest nursing home for residents with dementia may be forced to close due to funding difficulties.

Saint Joseph’s Shankill in Dublin is a private not-for-profit nursing home that is owned and managed by Saint John of God Hospital.

However, management has warned that it may have to close if it does not receive increased funding from the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

It may be forced to cease its day-care service facility from next January, and then gradually wind down the entire facility.

It is home to 60 people living with dementia and provides two respite beds and an additional 120 day care places per week but has been operating at a significant and unsustainable deficit for over seven years.

Management have today been speaking with its 100 staff and with families of its service users about the current funding crisis facing the organisation.

Saint John of God Hospital said it has been covering the €7m financial shortfall in Saint Joseph’s from its own resources since 2012.

This has mainly arisen due to essential capital investment for the upgrading of facilities and increased staffing ratios in line with HIQA’s regulatory requirements. A further subvention of €1.2m will be required to offset the 2019 deficit.

The Hospital says this is not a sustainable or fair way to fund such important services for people living with dementia.

Chief executive, Emma Balmaine, said; "People living with dementia have very different needs to elderly people living in care facilities without dementia.

"We deliver intensive person-centred, dementia-specific care every day to the 60 people that live in one of the six in-house lodges in Saint Joseph’s and to the people who utilise our 120 day care places and 2 respite beds each week. D

"ementia care is an end-of life palliative process and we simply cannot continue to offer this specialist long-term care based on the current funding model applied by the NTPF and the HSE.

"We are paid at considerably lower rates than equivalent public facilities and no account is taken of the added costs associated with meeting the high-dependency needs of the people we care for."

Most resident places in Saint Joseph’s are funded through the Fair Deal (NTPF rate) but the rate is insufficient as it does not take account of the dementia-specific and palliative care needs of these residents who have a terminal diagnosis, management claims.

Added to that, the day-care rate which is set by HSE has not been increased since 2006 and just last month we were informed that there is still no funding available, despite our warning of potential cessation of the service.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News