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Taking Better Care - CCPC issues Guidelines on Nursing Home Contracts of Care

Published 07/05/2019

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Age Action welcomes the publication of the Unfair Terms Guidelines for contracts of care in nursing homes by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

The CCPC guidelines, published on 7 May,  are a first step in improving transparency, clarity and certainty for consumers. The guidelines will help people to know their rights under consumer law and to begin a dialogue with a nursing home in cases where there is a concern regarding the fairness of the contractare. The guidelines inform nursing home providers of their obligations and responsibilities under consumer protection law in terms of the provision and cost of additional services in nursing homes such as social activities. The guidelines have legal status under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2007 and will help both providers and consumers understand their responsibilities and rights.

The decision to move into a nursing home is a significant one that is often made with urgency and in stressful circumstances. Age Action has been aware of, and concerned at, the unclear position of some nursing home residents and their relatives who are unsure what services and charges they are legally bound to pay for. Complaints continue to come to us where residents and families are unhappy being charged for services they do not need or use. Age Action has been actively working on this issue since 2017 when it published a briefing paper Regulating Nursing Home Charges. Understanding that the nursing home provider is entitled to charge for additional services that it provides beyond those covered by the NHSS, Age Action highlighted the fact that the amounts being charged, the transparency of the system and, in some cases, the dubious legality of the charge can cause serious problems for nursing home residents and their families. Charges are normally set out in the resident’s contract for care but there was nothing to prevent the nursing home from altering the contract once the resident is in place and imposing additional charges, which can be stressful for residents and their families.

The CCPC will send a copy of the guidelines to all nursing home owners this week and a booklet is available for consumers on the CCPC website. The CCPC website has a dedicated information section where a consumer booklet, standard template letter to help people initiate a dialogue and or complaint against a nursing home and a sample letter that can be used as a guide can be found.

 

ENDS

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A Fair Society for All? Listening to the Voices of Older People

Often, inequalities experienced by older people reflect an accumulated disadvantage which can be as a result of factors such as socio-economic status, health, gender, location. How existing inequalities impact on us as we age is something we in Age Action explored through a panel discussion 10 September – A Fair Society For All? Listening to the Voice of Older People – in Croke Park, on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting 2019.

An audience of over 160 people, including members of Age Action and people working in the ageing sector, joined the conversatoin which included a panel disucssion moderated by the CEO Paddy Connolly. The discussion centred on a discussion paper, Equality for All - Older People for Equality, published by Age Action in advance.The  panel set the scene with inputs from Michael Taft, Economist and political economy columnist, Colette Bennett, Policy Analyst Social Justice Ireland, Deirdre Garvey, CEO The Wheel, Ailbhe Smith, Co-Director of Together for Yes.