Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Health
Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. In order for an applicant to be eligible for the NHSS they must be deemed to be in need of long term nursing home care during the Care Needs Assessment stage of the application process. As the scheme was particularly designed, including in law, for residential care there are no provisions within the scheme for an applicant to remain at home as referred to by the Deputy in her question.
The Government is committed to promoting care in the community so that people can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible. There have been calls to extend the NHSS to cover home care services. However the Government is committed to establishing a new statutory scheme and system of regulation for home care services. The Department of Health is currently engaged in a detailed process to progress this.
The statutory scheme for home care will introduce clear rules in relation to the services for which individuals are eligible and in relation to how decisions are made on allocating services. For that reason, developing a new statutory scheme will be an important step in ensuring that the system operates in a consistent and fair manner for all those who need home care services. It will also help to improve access to the home care services that people need, in an affordable and sustainable way. The system of regulation for home care will help to ensure that the public can be confident that the services provided are of a high standard.
A public consultation on home care services was launched by Minister Harris and Minister of State Daly on 6 July and closed on 2 October 2017. The purpose of this consultation was to allow all those who have views on this topic to have their say, including service-users, their families, and healthcare workers. It also allowed the Department to find out what people think about current home care services as well as the public’s views on what the future scheme should look like. Approximately 2,600 submissions were received. A report of the findings of this consultation process will be published early next year and the findings will be used by the Department in the development of the new home care scheme.
The development of a new home care scheme is a complex undertaking which will involve significant legislative, operational and financial resources. A significant amount of detailed work remains to be undertaken before final decisions are taken on the form of a home care scheme and the regulation of these services. This is required if reforms are to be successful, affordable and sustainable.