Question to the Minister for Health (Dr. Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Health if he will review the funding model for private nursing homes to recognise the complex and high-dependency needs of persons with dementia in specialist care units, the specialist services provided to support persons with dementia, in order that the allocation of resources more realistically reflects the needs of such patients, the skill mix of staff employed in such units, their training needs, the level of care expected to be delivered, the actual cost of care and the requirement for capital investment in such facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 15, April, 2015.
The Irish National Dementia Strategy was published in December 2014. Its primary focus is to enable people with dementia to live well in their own homes and communities for as long as possible, and it sets out ways of achieving this. The Strategy is accompanied by a National Dementia Strategy Implementation Programme co-funded by the HSE and the Atlantic Philanthropies. It includes the provision of intensive home care packages, an information campaign and resources for GPs, who are most often the first port of call for people worried about dementia.
The Strategy acknowledges that while current health and social policy is focussed on caring for people with dementia in their own homes, there will come a time for many when home care may no longer be feasible or appropriate and when long-term residential care will be the best option. This can particularly arise when 24-hour care is needed or when the person with dementia is living alone. There is clearly a case for dementia-specific facilities as dementia is sometimes accompanied by behavioural and psychological symptoms such as agitation, aggression, disinhibition, wandering and sleep disturbance and these can occur at any stage of the illness. These behaviours can pose significant challenges for staff and other patients and can be dangerous and distressing for the person with dementia, and a specialist facility is sometimes necessary.
The Nursing Home Support Scheme is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. Upon commencement of the Scheme a commitment was made that it would be reviewed after 3 years. One of the Terms of Reference for this Review is to examine the overall cost of long-term residential care in public and private nursing homes and the effectiveness of the current methods of negotiating/setting prices. The Review will also make recommendations for the future operation and management of the scheme. The draft Review requires further analysis and this is ongoing at present.