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The families protested to pressure government to "intervene". Muiris O'Cearbhaill/The Journal
Dublin

Families call for additional funding in private Cork nursing homes, as relatives face eviction

According to the families, if the government do not intervene their family members face a real risk of eviction from the Cork nursing home.

THE FAMILIES OF residents who are living in nursing home Beaumont Residential Care in Cork protested outside the Dáil today to plead with the Taoiseach and ministers from Cork to intervene in funding negotiations.

The management of Beaumont Residential Care, one of 14 private nursing homes owned by the CareChoice group, pulled out of a funding scheme that families can avail for to cover the cost of having their family member in the home in May.

The chair of the CareChoice group Jimmy Tolan said that he realised it would be a “shock” to residents at the Cork nursing home and that they wanted to remain open.

CareChoice, which is owned by the French investment fund InfraVia Capital Partners, pulled out of the Fair Deal Scheme due to “extreme financial pressure” faced by many homes in the private sector.

The company’s CEO Stuart Murphy said earlier this month that negotiations between the home and the National Treatment Purchase Fund, who negotiates rates with private nursing homes on behalf of the HSE, were not going well

The families agree with the decision to pull away from the Fair Deal Scheme and gathered outside the Dáil today to pressure the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Tánaiste Micheál Martin and other ministers from Cork to “intervene” with negotiations.

The families also called for the relevant ministers to provide additional funding for private sector nursing homes who, according to the group, have yet to receive an increase in funding since 2009.

According to the families, if the government do not intervene their family members face a real risk of eviction from the Cork nursing home.

Sisters Paula and Fiona, who’s 90-year-old mother is a resident in the care facility, told The Journal that she is in a secure unit due to her dementia illness and that moving her would require the same resources elsewhere.

Fiona said: “We want the nursing home to be properly funded. Funded to the same level that the HSE funded homes are.

A statement on behalf of the families said that the group are “fearful that unless urgent action is taken” by the government in the negotiations, the residents will be removed from the facility.

IMG_7700 The families outside Leinster House today Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal / The Journal

Many of the residents are in ill health with many suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Yannis, another family member of a resident, said if they were to be moved it would have a “huge impact”.

“We’d have to look for other places. They are settled and moving them at this stage is not easy, it’s not something that they will accept,” Yannis said.

Anne Rogers said outside the Dáil today that the group have protested outside the constituency offices of the relevant ministers in Cork to advocate on behalf of their family members.

Rogers, a daughter of an 82-year-old resident with advanced vascular dementia, said while the group fully support CareChoice’s decision to pull out of the Fair Deal Scheme, the group did not want to protest and “trade” their personal stories for attention.

IMG_7715 Anne Rogers speaking to the crowd today. Muiris O'Cearbaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbaill / The Journal / The Journal

The crowd gathered outside the Dáil on Kildare Street with large orange banners that read “Help Save Beaumont Residential Care, Cork”, “Please Save All Our Loved Ones Futures” and “It’s our Nursing Home Today, It’s your Nursing Home Tomorrow”.

Other signs read “Unfair Deal” beside the private sector, which reminded passers-by that the two groups have the “same needs”.

IMG_7744 Protest sign asking for better funding in the private nursing home sector. Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal Muiris O'Cearbhaill / The Journal / The Journal

Fiona said the Fair Deal Scheme favours the public sector much more: “They’ve been given an uplift of €183 per resident, per week, yet CareChoice have been offered €16 to deliver the same care.”

She added it is “obviously not sustainable” that CareChoice do not receive additional funding and that the trend in nursing homes closing down highlights the urgent need for this funding.

CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly said: “Fair Deal’s broken pricing mechanism, warned of many years within successive reports, is not encapsulating the reality of resident care costs, bringing extreme pressures upon nursing homes.”

Daly told The Journal that private and voluntary nursing homes, are under “unsustainable pressure” that require urgent redress.

Failure to address will have dire consequences for Ireland’s ageing population.”

Rogers said: “Protest is not something we are comfortable doing, but we would like to remind the ministers that you were voted for by the people and we remain disappointed of how you’ve represented us.”

Róisín Ryan, who looked after her mother Maddie along with her father until just over a year ago. Ryan told The Journal that her mother is in the late stages of dementia and that moving her from Beaumont is not an option for her.

Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín, who met with the protesters outside the Dáil today, has called on Minister Mary Butler to explain why nursing homes in Cork receive less funding through the Fair Deal Scheme.

Tóibín added: “The government’s inaction is leading to the eviction of people in the last years of their lives. This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.”

Additional reporting by Eimer McAuley

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