Nursing home beds are so scarce in Cork that people are checking the death notices in newspapers for spaces, it has been claimed.
Elderly rights advocate Paddy O'Brien has been campaigning for more than 60 years and said his brother-in-law applied for a space in one Cork nursing home two years ago and still hasn't got a response.
Mr O'Brien also claimed some homes are refusing to take more names for waiting lists.
"People are reading the death notices because there's such a lack of beds. They are looking in the newspaper and then calling nursing homes to see if someone was resident in a home," he said. "This has been confirmed to me by two homes, who say that if a resident passes away, their phones ring off the hook."
Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), called on the HSE to ensure more people can be moved to nursing homes.
"While the HSE has substantially reduced numbers of delayed discharges, with timely access to nursing home care playing a lead role in this regard, there must be a concerted focus upon ensuring the hundreds who continue to remain within hospitals can access beds that are available for them within their local nursing homes in an immediate timeframe," she said.
NHI recently carried out a "snapshot survey" of beds available in nursing homes and 176 nursing homes had 742 beds immediately available. However, not all homes responded to the survey.
We are in the midst of an elderly care crisis. Some would go as far as to say this means this is no country for old men and old women. Yeats may not have had the care of the elderly and disabled in mind when he published 'Sailing to Byzantium' in 1928.