NHI Article: Privacy and Dignity of residents compromised in some HSE nursing homes

8th June 2015

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) is concerned but regrettably not surprised by reports today stating 82 public (HSE) nursing homes risk deregistration or registration with significant conditions because of failure to comply with July 1st 2015 deadline for compliance with HIQA National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in respect of the Physical Environment Standards.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO stated: “The privacy and dignity of residents in some public nursing homes is being compromised because of State failure over a six year period to address its requirements to comply with the physical environment standards. Their deliberate ignoring of this impending issue has been reprehensible. The privacy and dignity of residents is being compromised by the HSE failing to comply with the HIQA Physical Environment Standards. Despite being required by NTPF to provide care at rates that are up to 50% below those provided to public counterparts together with the bank lending crisis and recession, private and voluntary nursing homes have invested significantly to ensure compliance with HIQA Physical Environment Standards providing high quality person centred in a ‘home from home’ setting to over 22,000 residents. Two years ago the HSE publicly stated €834m would be required to maintain its provision and address capacity issues. The challenges facing the public sector in meeting the July 2015 Physical Environment Standards have been well versed and long-standing. Short of a month before the deadline, the extent of the crisis in public nursing homes meeting the deadline that has been in place for six years is being further laid bare. This crisis has been fast coming down the track. It presents considerable, unwarranted uncertainty, worry and anxiety for thousands of older persons in HSE nursing homes.”

Mr Daly further stated: “NHI wishes to reiterate its concern regarding the manner in which the Standard 25; Physical Environment of the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People is being applied in practice. In order for the public to have full confidence in the proper administration of the regulatory regime governing residential care settings for older persons, it is essential that the Standards are applied consistently and fairly across all designated centres be they public, private or voluntary.”

NHI is awaiting response to a Freedom of Information request it has brought to HIQA requesting the number and list of HSE nursing homes that require works to meet standards and timescales in such regard.

Mr Daly added: “For a number of years NHI has called upon Department of Health not to bury its head in the sand and to face up to the challenges of providing long-term residential care for our population. It is imperative a roadmap that brings together a framework that will enable providers meet the considerable challenges of growing requirement of long-term residential care provision is prioritised. The Department of Health has informed Minister Varadkar 7,600 nursing home beds are a necessity and this imminent crisis facing provision of public nursing homes must trigger the alarm bell that signals the time to appropriately plan is now long upon us1.”