Nursing home providers, health professionals and politicians will gather at Thomond Park in Limerick on February 28th for a conference focusing on the future of nursing homes and the challenges faced by the sector.
Mary Butler TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, will perform the opening address at The Alliance “Shoulder To Shoulder” Nursing Home Expo 2024, which is being hosted by Ireland’s newest and second largest trade association for nursing homes with the support of The Shannon Region and Conference Bureau and Guerin Media.
The closure of 60 nursing home closures during the past five years, the dangers of a multinational operator-dominated sector and the need for a revised funding model in light of Ireland’s ageing population are amongst the key issues set to dominate the conference.
The one-day inaugural event will feature an address entitled ‘Solutions for an ageing population’ by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson David Cullinane ahead of a political panel discussion chaired by Newstalk presenter, former GP and columnist Dr. Ciara Kelly and featuring Michael McNamara TD (Independent), Patricia Ryan TD (Sinn Féin spokesperson for Older People), Senator Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fáil) and Richard O’Donoghue TD (Independent).
Susan Cliffe, Deputy Chief Inspector of HIQA, and Auriol Kelly, Business Manager for PTSB, will address the key nursing home industry issues of regulation and finance, while a panel discussion centering on the importance of further education will feature contributions from Niamh Condon of Dining With Dignity, Jonathan Murphy of Griffith College, Wendy Blakely of Strategic Thinking, and Carmel Kelly and Clodagh Killeen of LHP Skillnet. There will also be a few surprise guests on the day providing insights on leadership and team building.
“Nursing homes are at a critical juncture and it’s time for change” commented Shane Scanlan, CEO of The Alliance Supporting Nursing Homes.
Mr. Scanlan, who is the Director of Nursing for a small family-owned nursing home in County Kerry, added, “A significant number of nursing homes have closed since 2018 and while the funding model afforded to Nursing Homes has served its purpose for a period since its introduction in 2009 with the establishment of the Fair Deal scheme, we have reached a tipping point for the sector where we must decide the changes required to adequately fund the care of Ireland’s increasingly ageing population.”
“As a group of people who actively works within the sector, The Alliance membership believes official representation of our sector must improve and should comprise of those directly working in the industry,” he continued. “We are seeing consolidation in the nursing home market from large operators which take a huge percentage of nursing home beds presently and, most likely, into the future if the current trend persists. A blended model of independent, public, voluntary and private equity funded operators is favoured over the sector being controlled by 8 to 15 large multinational operators, which would be detrimental for an ageing population.”
Mr. Scanlan said recent reports from HIQA and the ESRI have highlighted how the current funding model is no longer fit-for-purpose and has led to regional inequalities in funding with a widening of the gap between the number of beds per capita in rural areas compared to that of Dublin and the commuter belt counties.
“The Alliance is fighting for a cost of care model to be introduced where the funding in relation to residents’ care follows the individual resident on a case-by-case basis and is centred on their care needs which, in turn, would adequately fund nursing homes for all residents under their care,” he explained.
“Community-based nursing homes are no different to other local services in terms of their socio-economic benefit to the communities in which they operate,” stated Mr. Scanlan. “They allow for people to be cared for in their communities and create substantial employment which has a positive knock-on impact for local suppliers. Community-based nursing homes provide an added incentive for government to support the sector and we are very much looking forward to hearing Minister Butler outline the Government’s plans to deal with the key issues affecting our sector.”
Visit www.theallianceirl.com for more details on The Alliance “Shoulder To Shoulder” Nursing Home Expo 2024 at Thomond Park, Limerick, on Wednesday, February 28th.