Age Action has expressed concern at a substantial rise in reports of abuse contained in this morning’s report from HIQA on its nursing home inspection service.
The organisation also said that investment in community care would enable thousands of older people to stay at home and to avoid going into nursing homes.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “We welcome the robust and independent monitoring that HIQA provides, but we are concerned at the rise in reports of allegations of suspected or confirmed abuse. These rose from 357 in 2014 to 424 last year, an increase of almost 19 per cent.
“It is essential that all of these cases are reported to the HSE’s elder abuse case-workers and properly investigated. We need a proactive approach to tackling elder abuse with more training for care staff and ensuring residents know how to report cases of suspected abuse."
Mr Moran continued: “But there is a much bigger question to be asked. Why are so many people in nursing homes in the first place?
“Many older people need quality nursing home care, but thousands could be at home with their families and in their communities if the proper supports were provided.
“That’s what they want. It’s what the Government’s National Positive Ageing Strategy promises. And it’s better value for money.
“The next Government must prioritise investment in services that enable older people to stay home as long as possible and introduce a statutory right to community care.”