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Disputes

What is the nursing home allowed to charge for?

One common source of frustration for people living in nursing homes or their families can be confusion about the additional charges put in place by nursing homes.

Nursing homes are allowed to charge for all therapeutic or recreational activities unless they are covered by the medical card. They are also allowed to charge for any personal services provided by the nursing home such as hair dressing, delivery of newspapers, etc.

HIQA Standards, published July 2016, require that the nursing home must agree a contract with the resident within one month of admission.

The nursing home’s management must communicate clearly with each resident, setting out the services that they receive and the required fees. You can only be charged for services as set out in the contract.   

 

What is the difference between a Care Plan and a Contract of Care?

There is a difference between the contact of care and the care plan.  The first is the legal document that outlines the legal relationship between whoever is responsible for paying the nursing home bill and the nursing home. 

It should record all charges that will be payable by the bill payer and all services that will be provided by the nursing home. The resident may have requirements that will be met by the HSE through the medical card scheme and these will not be listed in the contract of care. As was stated above there should be no additional charges levied by the nursing home outside of the contract.

The contract of care will include the care plan which is a comprehensive plan outlining how the individual care needs of the older person will be met.  

 

How do I ensure the property and finances of a resident are protected?

The HIQA standards state that every nursing home should have clear policies and procedure for managing a resident’s private property such as cash and jewellery. They also have a right to access items of personal property which should be kept secure either in a safe or in a secure locker or chest of drawers.   

Where an individual is no longer able to manage their own financial affairs, typically in relation to pensions and payment of nursing home bills, there should be an agent appointed to manage them on behalf of the resident. This person may be an employee of the nursing home or a representative of the resident.

The legal situation regarding guardianship and decision making is changing as new legislation is gradually being introduced and professional legal assistance should be sought if the older person’s capacity is being in doubt.  

 

How do I complain about something in a nursing home?

It is important if you have any concerns that you bring them to the attention of the management as soon as possible and there should be someone in the nursing home to whom these complaints can be made. Most disputes are solvable given good will on both sides.

If this proves unsatisfactory you can make a complaint to the Ombudsman's office and details of how to do so are availble on their website.

You can also call the Age Action information line on 01 475 6989 from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 1pm and 2pm and 5pm, or you can email us.

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Pension Inequality Firmly on the Election 2020 Campaign Agenda

Age Action joined the SIPTU led coalition of non-governmental organisations for the launch of the STOP67 campaign in Dublin today (Thursday, 23rd January) which aims to halt the increase of the state pension age for workers to 67 from next year in order to address inequalities in the pension system.

Speaking at the formal campaign launch in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “STOP67 is the SIPTU campaign to stop the increase of the state pension age to 67 on 1st January, 2021.

“SIPTU representatives are not surprised this is a major general election issue. We have been hearing from our members since the abolition of the transitional pension scheme in 2014 about the difficulties that the retirement gap has been causing for workers. This includes the absolute indignity of people coming up to 65 years of age who are expecting to get their pension and having to sign on the dole.”

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director, Orla O’Connor, said: “This is a core issue for women. Women rely on the state pension for the vast majority of their income in older age. So, anything that impacts on state pensions disproportionally impacts on women.”

Age Action Chief Executive, Paddy Connolly, said: “This campaign is not only about stopping the rise of the pension age to 67 but also the creation of a stakeholder forum which will consider issues such as finances, age discrimination and others that effect people in their retirement.”

Active Retirement Ireland chief executive, Maureen Kavanagh, said: “Ireland has the youngest population but the highest prospective retirement age in the EU. We are not under the demographic pressure of other countries. Retirement is a great part of life but it has to be voluntary, flexible and appropriate. We can’t force people out of a job that they love, or to stay in their job.”

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe Cunningham, called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to make clear their position on the pensions issue.

He added: “All the other political parties are supporting the ‘STOP67’ campaign. The big two parties must make their position clear.”