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Nursing home pay confusion angers elderly

Resource type: News

The Evening Herald |

Original Source By Fiachra O’Cionnaith UP to 21,000 elderly people are being “left in the dark” by Health Minister Mary Harney’s failure to implement the nursing home Fair Deal payment scheme, it has been claimed. Under the minister’s Fair Deal initiative, elderly people will be charged 80pc of their disposable income during their lifetime and up to 15pc of the value of their homes after their deaths to pay for their care while alive. The proposed legislation was widely seen as the only way to adequately reform the nursing home payments sector, which can lead to individuals paying upwards of €50,000 per year for private nursing home care, when it was announced in December 2006. But in the 18 months that have followed, a series of legislative question-marks have emerged over the finer details of the plans, which Age Action Ireland claim are yet to be resolved. Currently, the new law — which was due to be introduced at the start of this year — is still being looked over by the office of the Attorney General. In the past six months the group says promises by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to meet them to discuss the matter have been broken. A planned Oireachtas meeting on the issue for Tuesday was also cancelled due to the closeness of the Lisbon Treaty vote. the group now says elderly people concerned about what the deal could mean for their finances are now being “left in the dark” by the constant delays. “This is absolutely fundamental legislation, it is essential from the point of view of healthcare reform, but we are being left in the dark completely over this,” Age Action Ireland spokesperson Eamon Timmins told the Herald. “Under the Fair Deal scheme, older people and residents of nursing homes will have their healthcare paid for through x amount of their savings and house prices after their death. “But that does not clarify whether it is the cost of the house at the time they enter a nursing home, at the time of their death or at the time of their spouse’s death. Qualify “The Department of Health hasn’t even worked out the dependency rate scheme, which means that they don’t know who will qualify,” he added. “The whole situation is very patchy, and people are being left in the dark. “There are roughly 21,000 people in nursing homes, both public and private, and under the Fair Deal plans the only ones who can be absolutely certain they will benefit at the moment are the ones who already have to pay for private nursing home care. “The rest don’t know what will happen.” The Fair Deal nursing home payments reform scheme, announced in December 2006, was due to be signed into law at the start of this year. © 2008

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Republic of Ireland


Age Action Ireland, Fair Deal, nursing home care