The Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland has called for a €69 weekly increase per resident under the Fair Deal Scheme as more nursing homes face the threat of closure.
Energy costs, staffing shortages and the cost-of-living crisis continue to put strain on smaller nursing homes in the industry, the Health Information and Quality Authority has warned.
"The Fair Deal Scheme, which is the primary funding mechanism for those requiring nursing home care, is not fit for purpose and has not kept pace with the current inflationary environment," Tadhg Daly said.
"What we're looking for is an increase in the Fair Deal rate something of the order of €69 per resident per week," he told Divetime.
He said he is very concerned about the future of the sector.
"It is very, very dire. Twenty-nine nursing homes with less than 40 beds have closed their doors in the last number of years," he said.
"In the last two years 14 nursing homes have closed and we have received notification in the last number of weeks of a further three closing their door this year. Ultimately it will impact on residents' choice," Mr Daly said, adding that it is "hugely upsetting" when long-term nursing home residents have to move.
"What we've got to remember is that this is their home and many of them would have lived there for a long number of years," he added.
"We know that people who move nursing homes, it does impact on their mortality. It’s hugely upsetting for everybody, not least the residents and their families," he said.
"It’s a situation that has to be carefully managed working with the regulator HIQA. You have to give a period of notice but invariably it’s about transferring the older person to another care setting either in the locality or somewhere further away," Mr Daly said.
"It’s something that can be avoided if government works closely with the sector to ensure we can find a sustainable model," he added.