HSE Welcomes Ombudsman’s report on the placement of people under 65 in nursing homes

The HSE today (Wednesday, 5th May 2021) broadly welcomes the publication of the Ombudsman’s report on the placement of young people in nursing homes.

The HSE is fully committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability and the implementation of Sláintecare which is ultimately about delivering the right care in the right place at the right time.  The establishment of a statutory home support scheme, underway in the HSE, that enables people to live as independently as possible in their home is a fundamental sought after requirement that has the potential to develop greater choice and options to suit need.

For some people, and based on assessed need, Nursing Home interventions are appropriate and where the required clinical supports are available and best met. However, the HSE agrees that this must be the subject of a care and case management approach that facilitates structured reviews and where the will and preference of the individual is of paramount importance.

It is important to note that an individual’s clinical and support requirements, rather than their age, is the major determining factor for placement in a Nursing Home.

The HSE acknowledges that the report gives an important voice to a number of people who are clearly dissatisfied with their care arrangement and who strongly desire to be facilitated in terms of transitioning to a ‘home’ with the required support. There are approximately 1,330 people under 65 years living in nursing homes, 45% of whom are aged 60+ and 20% less than 50 years, and many of these people are satisfied with this arrangement and for many this may be the appropriate setting based on their clinical and support need.

Work has been ongoing in the HSE to address nursing home care of people under 65 who wish to live elsewhere. 

  • The HSE has established a dedicated funding stream as part of the HSE National Service Plan (NSP 2021) that will enable 18 people, with an investment of €3m, under the age of 65yrs to transition to their own home with support. This initiative and associated reform programme will include improved systems and procedures that already respond to a number of key findings highlighted in the report.
  • The NSP 2021 also provides for implementation of the Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy which will utilise the Sláintecare 2020 care redesign fund in the development of neuro-rehabilitation teams starting with Community Healthcare Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow (CHO7) and Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation (CHO8).  This includes the development of 10 specialist inpatient beds.
  • The HSE has also secured €300,000 from Genio which will be used to develop the best care pathway model for younger people in Nursing Homes which eventually can be rolled out as appropriate across the country.

According to Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer,HSE “Work has been ongoing already and committed to in the HSE National Service Plan which will address the issues raised in the Ombudsman’s report published today. 

“We have asked the Community Healthcare Organisations to develop proposals to prepare and conduct a mapping exercise with the 1,330 people under 65 years in Nursing Homes and their families to ascertain their current needs and wants regarding their living arrangements, their care requirements and also their access to primary care services outside their Nursing Home environment.

“All combined, these activities and extra funding, including the wider increased funding for 5million additional Home Support hours providing for increased intensive home care packages and also residential re-ablement and rehabilitation capacity in the transition from services to home, will provide additional options for people with complex care needs and develop models of support that can then be replicated across the state in line with Sláintecare.

“We will also prepare an action plan with a view to implementing the recommendations of the report, as appropriate, that come under the remit of the HSE. We welcome collaborative working and joint initiatives as an important means by which to effect change for the benefit of all citizens, including in the context of this report.”

Last updated on: 05 / 05 / 2021