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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

'Adding to chaos': Waiting times for nursing home funding double over three months

The waiting time for funding increased from six to 12 weeks, while the number of people on the list rose by 500.

Image: wheelchair via Shutterstock

WAITING TIMES FOR nursing home funding have doubled over three months, new figures reveal.

And as many as 60 older people every week are being added to “already unacceptable” waiting lists for nursing home funding.

This can leave families with a bill of up to €15,000 before any funding is received.

The details were released in a series of parliamentary questions from Roscommon – South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten, who asked Minister Kathleen Lynch about the waiting times for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

This provides “financial support for people who need long-term nursing home care”.

The number of people on the waiting list increased by more than 500 over three months, while the waiting time doubled from six to twelve weeks.

“While some 1,500 older people have been approved for financial support under the Fair Deal nursing home scheme, they cannot receive payment towards the shortfall between their income and the nursing home cost until they reach the top of a 12 week plus national waiting list,” Naughten said.

Not only is this leading to chaos in our hospitals but in some instances is placing undue financial pressure on older relatives, adding to their fears and concerns.

Nursing home

Nursing Homes Ireland warned last week these long waiting times for funding could be putting patients’ ‘health at risk’.

“Older persons are remaining within acute hospitals for extended periods unnecessarily and being admitted to such settings because their complex care requirements cannot be met at home,” CEO Tadhg Daly said, and warned that it has “implications for wider health service.”

“When Fair Deal 2014 budget was significantly cut we warned it would have very serious consequences for health and wellbeing of older persons and increase pressures upon acute hospital services.

Our fears are being realised.

Previously: Long waiting times for nursing home funding causing ‘distress and hardship’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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