Scheme to make nursing home care ‘anxiety-free’
Resource type: News
Irish Examiner |
THE new Nursing Homes Support Scheme will make residential care accessible, affordable and anxiety-free, Health Minister Mary Harney insisted yesterday. Families should not find themselves under financial pressure to come up with large amounts of cash to pay for a relative’s care, Ms Harney said. All but those with the highest incomes should receive some financial support from the State. And, she said, no one currently in a nursing home, whether public or private, would be disadvantaged by the introduction of the Fair Deal because it was optional. Under the proposed legislation: People seeking a nursing home bed will face a new medical assessment to see if they have high dependency needs. If eligible, they will pay a maximum of 80% of their disposable income towards the cost of their care, based on a HSE assessment of their assets. If this does not cover the cost, they may agree to have a charge placed on the market value of their home, collected after they die, to Say for their care. This charge will be capped at 5% each year of the value of their home, for a maximum of three years. More than 21,000 people are in long-term nursing home care in public or private facilities – with costs ranging from EUR1,100 to EUR1,700 per week. Ms Harney said the State would continue to meet over two-thirds of the cost of long-term care for the country. She also stressed that the assessment for eligibility for long-term residential care by the HSE would not be purely based on a person’s medical situation. The assessment would take account of situations where the community supports did not exist and where people were isolated. “There will be a social as well as medical dimension,” she said. The system is not expected to come into effect until the middle of next year at the earliest. The minister said only those nursing homes that meet the approval of the National Treatment Purchase Fund will be supported by the scheme. She said they were removing any requirement on children to fund the care of their parents and the spouse left at home would not be expected to live on less than the non-contributory old-age pension of EUR212 a week. Age Action said it was concerned at the implications which the scheme will have for older people. “If the bill is introduced does it mean an older person who is medically assessed as being in need of full-time medical and nursing care, but who refuses to sign up to the new charging arrangement whereby he would pay 80% of his income and up to 15% of the value of his estate, would be refused essential care by the State?” said Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins.