Tuesday 22 January 2019

Most costly public nursing home charges €2,339 a week per resident

Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland
Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The most expensive public nursing home in the country now charges €2,339 a week per resident, according to new figures.

The weekly cost of care is highest at St Vincent's Care Centre in Athlone, Co Westmeath, which has 44 long-stay beds, including four for palliative care, the HSE has revealed.

It is due to reopen shortly after being closed for refurbishment, with large rooms now being divided.

The weekly cost of care in public and private nursing homes is paid for through a means-tested contribution from the resident under the Fair Deal scheme and a State subvention.

The most expensive private nursing homes are run by the TLC group in Santry, Dublin, and Maynooth, Co Kildare, where the weekly cost per resident is €1,239.

The TLC nursing homes promise "hotel quality accommodation".

The highest weekly prices for private nursing homes are in the Dublin area where they are nearly all over €1,200 a week.

They are lower in counties such as Tipperary at around €875 a week.

Tadhg Daly (inset), of Nursing Homes Ireland, representing private nursing homes, said the overall gap in weekly costs was a "chasm" of 60pc, up from 53pc in October.

"Over the 16-month period, fees payable within HSE nursing homes increased by an average 11pc versus 3.9pc for private and voluntary nursing homes," Mr Daly said.

He said public HSE-run nursing homes were subject to no negotiation to justify the fee payable to them.

However, private and voluntary nursing homes were pressed by the National Treatment Purchase Fund "to provide care for fees that are not sustainable" under the Fair Deal scheme.

"This discriminatory practice within health service provision must be called to account, as it threatens the capability of the Fair Deal scheme to sustainably fund nursing home provision for our population into the future," Mr Daly added.

Private nursing homes faced added costs such as commercial rates and insurance, he insisted.

The Department of Health has been carrying out a review of the cost of care. Private nursing homes, which have been criticised for charging some Fair Deal residents out-of-pocket top-up fees for areas such as social activities, have blamed the level of fees they receive for part of the problem.

Residents who qualify for the Fair Deal scheme are assessed on their individual income and assets.

The contribution which they pay is the same, regardless of what the weekly cost of care is in the public or private nursing home. Around 23,000 people are in the Fair Deal scheme.

Irish Independent

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