Wednesday, 30 June 2021
Department of Health
Care of the Elderly
315. To ask the Minister for Health if provisions will be made for elderly care facilities that are at risk of having to reduce bed capacity due to a HIQA mandate that will require 7.4 square metres between residents. [28260/21]
The provision of residential care is part of a range of measures to offer a care system that reflects and responds to the varying needs of older people who require additional supports.
The safety and quality of care provided to persons living in nursing homes is of the greatest importance. To that end, the Department of Health continues to work closely with the Health Information and Quality Authority and nursing home providers to ensure that the highest standards continue to be met. The regulation referred to states that "On and from 1st January 2022, a bedroom in a designated centre which was carrying on the business of a designated centre on or before 1st July 2009 or a part of a designated centre where such business was carried on before that date shall have an area of not less than 7.4 square metres of floor space, which area shall include the space occupied by a bed".
This regulation means that providers must provide a minimum of 7.4 square metres per resident in a bedroom, rather than requiring 7.4 square metres between residents.
The HSE's National Service Plan 2021 contains a number of measures designed to mitigate the risk of a temporary reduction of capacity in some nursing homes arising from both regulatory compliance pending the completion of the Community Nursing Unit capital infrastructure programme and from infection and prevention control measures in place arising from COVID-19. These include funding for an additional 1,250 community beds to reduce the number of older people in long stay residential care through purposing existing or developing additional rehabilitation and intermediate care beds, expanding reablement and outreach services and by significantly increasing home support hours.