Sunday 25 February 2018

HSE's over-reliance on nursing homes is not just bad news for elderly it's bad for economics, too

Colette Browne

Colette Browne

The insanity that masquerades as policy in the health service was perfectly exemplified in the plight of one 92-year-old woman trapped in an acute hospital bed for almost a year at a cost of €7,000 per week because funding of €400 per week for a home-care package was unavailable.

The elderly woman was admitted to Mayo University Hospital after she broke her pelvis nearly a year ago and is now stuck there because staff have no autonomy to move funding between budgets, even when doing so would save the State a fortune.

According to the HSE, home care packages in the region have been provided "in excess of the funded levels of service" and it was now required to bring expenditure "back into equilibrium". Or, in other words, elderly people requiring modest levels of support at home can now expect to languish indefinitely in hospitals - exacerbating an already chronic trolley and waiting list crisis.

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