The government accused of “indifference” due to support for nursing homes

The government has been accused of “indifference” about implementing support structures for residents of nursing homes and staff after Covid-19.

Nursing home Ireland said major structural reforms to ensure lessons were learned from the pandemic had not been made.

The national representative body for the private and voluntary nursing home sector made the claim one year after the report of the Covid-19 Nursing Home Expert Committee was published.

The committee was set up in May last year by then-Secretary of Health Simon Harris, on the recommendation of the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Early that month, deaths from the coronavirus associated with nursing home residents accounted for nearly 53% of all deaths.

The committee is tasked with making recommendations about what can be learned from the pandemic and ongoing protection and support for nursing home residents.

The Expert Panel’s report on Covid-19 and the nursing home report made 86 recommendations to protect residents in nursing homes for the next 12-18 months and “over the long term”.

She suggested that employees working in these homes be prohibited from working across multiple locations for the duration of the pandemic.

He also said that appropriate employment contracts should be placed in one location to support the measure.

In conjunction with the anniversary of the publication of the expert panel’s report, Home Nursing Ireland has published another report by consultancy Accenture.

It engaged Key Stakeholders in assessing the structural and sectoral challenges required to make recommendations and system-wide transformation in the care of older persons.

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It has identified three topics that it says require “state compensation and prioritization” if nursing home care is to “make the transformation needed to implement the real reform needed after Covid-19”.

Topics centered around integration, workforce, and resources.

Regarding integration, she said, Covid-19 has highlighted access to community care services for nursing home residents as inconsistent, broken and disorganized.

She called for an “updated integrated care model” to ensure that residents of nursing homes have access to the community-based care services necessary to support their health and social needs.

Regarding the workforce, she said the challenge of private and voluntary nursing homes “losing out” employees to the broader health care system and other sectors must be addressed within a comprehensive nursing home workforce strategy.

She said the strategy needs to focus on attracting and retaining staff in geriatric care and ensuring that an appropriate mix of staff is maintained to support high-quality resident-centric care.

She also said that recruitment, retention, education, training and career development options within nursing home care urgently require a customized strategy.

When it comes to resources, the Accenture report said that over the five years from 2015 to 2020, operating costs for nursing homes rose 37.6% while fair deal rates rose 11.12% over the same period.

She said the model that ensures funding is based on assessing residents’ needs and levels of dependency has long been overlooked and must be applied to reflect the rising costs of providing high-quality, person-centered, specialized care in nursing homes.

Nursing home Ireland said calls from nursing home providers – tasked with implementing 40 of the 86 recommendations – about the resources needed for implementation have so far been largely ignored, with many of the recommendations now being medium to long-term. stagnant.

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She said many of the medium to long-term recommendations are now stagnant.

The National Institute of Health said that “there is still a lot for the government to achieve in the remaining six-month period to implement the recommendations.”

As of March 9, 2021, 4,160 deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded in Ireland, with over 92% of those deaths in the 65+ age group.

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