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Residents paying 62% more for public nursing homes than private

Dublin: Old age living conditions are an area that most immigrants in Ireland have not yet thought about. It’s been nearly two decades since immigrants including Indians, arrived in Ireland. But the first generation of immigrants have already reached their retirement age.

Immigrants from Europe are less likely to return to their home countries in their old age.

The Comptroller and Auditor General yesterday released some interesting figures on the cost of nursing homes.

The report reveals that the cost of public nursing homes averages more than €500 per week compared to the cost of private sector nursing homes. This is about 62% more than private nursing homes.

In 2018, the average cost for public nursing homes was €1,564 per week. However, the average maximum charge for private nursing homes was €968 per week.  

Rates for public nursing homes are based on pre-period operating costs and bed occupancy level. On the other hand, the rates are negotiated in private nursing homes.

HSE said the difference amounted to better pay and conditions, higher ratios of workers to resident, higher staff-to-resident ratios and national pay awards were implemented.  

Some public nursing homes located in rural and isolated areas are not commercially viable. However the report points out that HSE has not undertaken formal analysis of these cost drivers.

The auditor’s report on the government’s plan looked at the operation of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, known as Fair Deal, established in 2009 to provide financial support to residents towards the cost of their care.

The government’s share in the Fair Deal Scheme is determined on the basis of one’s income and pension.

However, low income earners are also eligible for old age care in private or public nursing homes through the Fair Deal Scheme. Services in public nursing homes will be funded on a weekly basis.

 If you have assets such as property or land, you will have to pay 7.5% of their value (3.75% each if you are a couple) each year to your maintenance costs.

You may often have to wait a long time to get admission to nursing homes.

If the occupancy rate is lower than expected or the current operating costs are higher than the previous costs, there will be a funding shortfall to the costs of nursing homes. In 2018, in order to cover those deficits, additional funding of €23 million was required from other monetary resources.

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