The government must act now to show commitment to older people in public nursing homes and prevent the looming crisis in long term care of older people.
Age Action continues to be concerned at the apparent lack of commitment on the part of the Government towards older people in the public nursing home sector.
This lack of commitment is being highlighted by the looming crisis caused by the failure of the government to address the problem of many public nursing homes failing to meet HIQA standards on the dormitory style wards.
This need not happen because with proper investment now in community care, in redesigning public nursing homes and the provision of sheltered housing on the ground of public nursing homes for older people we could have a care model suitable to the needs of all stakeholders.
The government had since 2009 to address this issue but it appears as if they have not begun to do so yet and have not set aside any funding to do so.
There are at the moment over 5,000 older people in public nursing homes, many of whom are high dependency and not suited to private nursing home care.
In Ireland the majority of older people continue to live in the community. Just 4.5% of people over 65 are in residential care, the majority of whom, 21,000, are in private nursing homes.
Given the small percentage of older people concerned it is baffling that the government has ignored the problem for so long given the extra cost it will give rise to if the crisis is allowed to develop.
If this happens many older people will be forced to remain in hospital longer as the number of public nursing home beds shrinks.
For more information please contact Gerard Scully, Senior Information Officer with Age Action, at 01 4756989 or 087 9682536 or email Gerard.Scully@ageaction.ie