Cautious welcome for care home plans

LABOUR TD Ann Phelan has cautiously welcomed Minsiter for Health James Reilly’s plans to allow local communities could take control of publicly-run nursing homes which are under threat of closure.

LABOUR TD Ann Phelan has cautiously welcomed Minsiter for Health James Reilly’s plans to allow local communities could take control of publicly-run nursing homes which are under threat of closure.

Deputy Phelan had been campaigning to insure that care homes such as Gahan house in Graignamanagh would remain open. While Deputy Phelan welcomed the announcement she cautioned against a one size fits all approach by the Minister.

“I’d be very careful that this isn’t a one size fits all approach. You have to look at each care home and community individually. I would like to see a bit more research into it and to make sure that its tied in with the state providing the funding for the homes,” she said.

Deputy Phelan said that many of these homes were responding to a need with in the community and providing a service that allows elderly people to maintain their independence. A lot of the residents in the care homes don’t require 24 hour nursing care and the community run nursing homes provide them with an excellent service she said.

Minister Reilly said that the Government wanted to protect community nursing units and would “think outside the box” and look at different combinations of arrangements to support them.

Community nursing homes were having difficulty in sourcing staff and funding to up-grade the facilities to comply with new HIQA standards. Due to this a draft HSE plan had planned on the closure of between 555 and 900 community nursing home beds. Minister Reilly had said that smaller nursing homes with less than 50 beds would be most in danger of being closed.