A new report looking at nursing home provision in Ireland highlights that there is a threat to the sustainability of care due to increased costs.

The study, commissioned by Nursing Homes Ireland and carried out by PwC, found that the cost of care has risen considerably since 2017.

The report comes against the backdrop of 31 private and voluntary nursing home closures over the last three years.

According to PwC, there is a funding crisis in the nursing home sector.

It highlights a 36% increase in the operational cost of care per resident since 2017.

In addition to this, 31 nursing homes and 915 beds have closed in the last three years.

The research also notes that one third of nursing homes surveyed lost money last year – up from 19% the previous year - and calls for reform of the Fair Deal scheme, as well as the immediate provision of necessary funding to prevent further closures.

Commenting on the report, Nursing Homes Ireland said more nursing home closures are inevitable without substantial reforms.

The report, titled 'Challenges for Nursing Homes in the Provision of Older Persons Care', outlines how nursing homes are under pressure as they deal with increasingly complex resident profiles.

It cites infection prevention control requirements, recent inflationary pressures, and health sector-wide staffing shortages as issues driving operational costs up.

Nursing home staff are now caring for residents with more complex needs, it says, with those in need of care being older, of higher dependency, and requiring a greater number of care hours.

Nursing Homes Ireland Chief Executive Tadhg Daly said the findings "present an uncertain future for the care of our ageing population and our sector".

"It must serve as a further wake-up call for Government," he said, adding that the report presents "a chasm between expenditure incurred and income received under Fair Deal".