Pensioners' money put at risk of fraud by homes' practice
Some private nursing homes, which are pension agents for residents, are now putting the money in a central account, it emerged yesterday.
The practice is increasing the risk of fraud, warned Susan Cliffe, deputy chief inspector at the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).
She said the finding, which has not shown any evidence of any wrongdoing, came to light in inspections this year. Nursing homes need to keep a resident's pension funds in a separate account as a safeguard.
Ms Cliffe, who was speaking at the annual meeting of Nursing Homes Ireland, said some inspections also found a number of nursing homes were not providing full staff training in fire safety evacuation plans.
She said this was an area that inspectors would be paying more attention to during visits to nursing homes next year.
The inspections highlighted the value of activities for residents, and social interaction is important.
Speaking at the conference, Assumpta Ryan, professor of Ageing and Health at Ulster University, urged nursing homes to recognise the stress a resident can face during their first weeks.
Prof Ryan, whose recent report looked at the role of nursing homes as a "home from home" for residents, said several of the people spoken to were grateful for the kindness shown by staff.
One wheelchair user said that a staff member knew when to come to her for a chat, and "saw beyond my crippled body".
Staff in some cases came in on their day off to do a resident's hairdressing.
Some of the people who were spoken to for the research were unaware of how lonely they were while living on their own, she added.