NHI Statement re Charges for Services

 

NHI is not aware of specific charges imposed upon nursing home residents for Mass. As advanced within today’s media, we have yet to see anything from Councillor Christy Burke to give substance to his claim.

NHI Members are committed to engaging with residents in an amicable, transparent and open manner with regard to charges for services. They are committed to openness and transparency with regard to all the fees and charges applied for services.

Generally the provision of required services, that support all residents daily social, activity and spiritual needs (that are not covered by Fair Deal), are bundled into a weekly or monthly charge. In addition, activities and social programmes, including religious services within the nursing home, can and do change on a daily or weekly basis to reflect the individual needs, choices and wishes of residents. Residents then choose to participate or not in these activities and services as they arise.

The nursing home develops a Care Plan with each resident and this includes information on the resident’s needs, wishes and preferences in relation to activities, interests and the services they require.

Nursing homes recognise the essential role religious services and spirituality fulfils within the lives of nursing home residents and engages with local parishes to ensure residents spiritual wishes are fulfilled. 

Pastoral services provided to residents of private and voluntary nursing homes include:

  • Mass / religious services
  • First Friday visits,
  • Visits to the sick,
  • Pastoral care and advocacy,
  • Visitation Committees for the pastoral care of nursing home residents,
  • Apostolic prayer groups within the nursing home.

Nursing homes are required to agree charges for services within the residents Contract for Care. This Contract, between the resident and the nursing home, must be agreed upon admission to the nursing home.

The Contract for Care is subject to oversight from HIQA, the statutory independent regulator of the nursing home sector. HIQA states: “Registered providers must ensure that contracts of care are clear, unambiguous and contain full details of the services to be provided to the resident. In essence, providers must ensure that contracts and charges reflect the requirements of the regulations and the standards and are in line with consumer protection law.

This allows for greater transparency and prevents undue stress for residents and their families.”

Within its annual report, Overview of 2016 HIQA regulation of social care and healthcare services,  HIQA, the regulator, stated “a small number” of queries were received regarding charges for services amongst the 580 private and voluntary nursing homes it regulates. It is important to note the term ‘queries’.

NHI takes opportunity to inform of recourse for residents with regard to any questions and concerns regarding charges for services.

The Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People Regulations stipulate clear and robust regulatory requirements for all nursing homes (public, private and voluntary) in respect of receipt and management of complaints. Concerns regarding the contract should initially be brought before the nursing home via its transparent and robust complaints mechanism. If a person remains dissatisfied a complaint in this regard can be directed to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office are permitted under the Ombudsman Act 2012 to investigate complaints relating to the administrative actions of private nursing homes. Its 2016 Annual Report informed of one complaint submitted with regard to charges.

We reiterate our call for the Department of Health to publish the Interdepartmental Working Group report that was schedule for completion and presentation to the Department by 1st June 2017. The Working Group is tasked with implementing recommendations emanating from the Fair Deal Review and is considering the pricing mechanism applied to support nursing home care.

 

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