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Fair Deal

Families of residents who will be 'kicked out' of Cork nursing home urge Taoiseach to step in

The families claimed that Minister Mary Butler has only written to the most “vocal families” to offer them help finding other accommodation for their loved ones, but has not engaged with others.

SOME OF THE FAMILIES OF residents in a Cork nursing home that recently exited the Fair Deal scheme have refused to meet with Minister for Older People Mary Butler. 

The group have grave concerns for their 53 relatives who they say will soon be “kicked out”of Beaumont Residential Care, which is in a suburb outside of Cork city, as the company that owns the home – CareChoice – opted to pull out of the Fair Deal scheme as they said it was no longer affordable. 

They claim that since they called for the Government to intervene in the situation, Minister Butler has written to some – but not all – of the affected families and made offers to help them source alternative accommodation for their relatives. 

The company, which is owned by a French investment fund and operates homes in 14 locations in Ireland, said that the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is paying lesser rates under the scheme for their Beaumont location than it is to other nursing homes in Cork. 

CareChoice claims that they have tried to engage with the NTPF and the Department of Health for months prior to taking the difficult decision to pull out of the scheme, which sees the State finance part of an older person’s residential care costs. 

The Journal understands that the NTPF has engaged with CareChoice since they opted to pull the home out of the Fair Deal Scheme, but the families have been informed that it is the view of the NTPF that the Department of Health would be responsible for increasing funding available to be spent on the scheme. 

The families of 53 residents, some of which have dementia and other significant health conditions, now have until the end of this month to come up with the money to pay full private fees to stay on, or source alternative accommodation for their loved ones. 

Sheila 95-year-old Sheila Healy who lives at the home.

Nina Olden, the daughter of 95-year-old resident Sheila Healy, told The Journal last week that the sudden news was extremely difficult for her family, and that they believe it would be “cruel’ for her to be moved to a new location at this stage of her life. 

However, Nina said that her family did receive a generic letter from Minister Butler’s office, and that they have not been made aware of any offer of a meeting with the Minister.

Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly told TJ that without a change in the pricing mechanism of Fair Deal, it is “inevitable” that more nursing homes will pull out, leaving a greater number of families in this distressing situation. 

Rosie Roccaforte, whose mother is one of the longest-term residents at the home has claimed that the State’s response to the crisis has not been in good faith, and has instead been aimed at blocking the “progress”of the group who are campaigning for State intervention. 

“It appears to us that Minister Butler is trying to reassure some of the more vocal families involved that she will secure alternative accommodation, but she is not offering this to all residents.

“The real issue is that we don’t want alternative accommodation, we want our loved ones to remain in Beaumont Residential Care, as they are perfectly entitled to,” she said. 

Roccaforte said that the families have now written directly to the Taoiseach himself, in the hope that as a former “medical professional” he will show “empathy and understanding” towards their situation. 

The families have been told by CareChoice that the HSE, through the NTPF, is paying €738 less per resident per week under the Fair Deal scheme to Beaumont Residential care than it is to public nursing home residents.

They are to protest tomorrow outside the offices of Tanaiste Micheál Martin, and ministers Simon Coveney and Michael McGrath. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that Minister Butler understands how “distressing” this situation has been for the families and residents, and that her office receives a “high level of correspondence”and endeavours to get back to people in a timely manner. 

The spokesperson further stated that the NTPF met with Beaumont Residential care, and will meet the company that owns the home again this week.

“Both parties need to be given space and time to go through the agreed process. Engagement between the nursing home provider and the NTPF is the only way to resolve this issue,”they added.

The spokesperson said that should the residents at the home be asked to leave at the end of the month, the HSE will step in and house them as the “statutory provider as a last resort”.

“The HSE will always support families in a situation where a private nursing home is no longer able or willing to provide care under Fair Deal to a loved one,” they further added.

“The only mechanism for funding from the public purse for nursing home residents is Fair Deal and it is really important that private and voluntary providers continue to engage in the process

“The NTPF has statutory independence, and there is no role for Ministers or the Department of Health in negotiations with individual nursing homes,”the Department of Health stated.

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