Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Health
Nursing Homes Support Scheme
Question 481: To ask the Minister for Health if contacts have been signed in relation to the nursing home support scheme with a nursing home (details supplied) in County Kerry and if funding is ring fenced for the next three years [17075/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 476 to 481, inclusive, together.
The introduction of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme in October 2009 brought about a fundamental change in the way in which long-term nursing home care is funded and, consequently, the way in which nursing homes and community hospitals are funded. In the past, public and voluntary nursing homes would have been allocated a lump sum annually. In contrast, the new scheme supports the individuals in need of long-term residential care, not the facilities providing the care. This means that funding follows the patients and ensures that these facilities are not being funded for empty beds.
The legislation underpinning the scheme encompasses a principle of patient choice. Once an individual has received financial approval for the scheme, s/he can choose any nursing home that is participating in the scheme in any part of the country, subject to the nursing home having an available bed and being able to meet their particular care needs. This applies to public, private and voluntary nursing homes alike. Finally, the scheme only applies to long-term nursing home care. Nursing homes and community hospitals can continue to have separate agreements with the HSE for the provision of other services, e.g. day care, respite and convalescence.