Residential care is often needed after a stay in hospital, or may be the best option when an older person becomes unable to live alone, through illness or disability. Only about 5% of all older people will ever need residential or nursing home care.
The HSE provides a wide range of services designed to support people to remain living in their own homes, but when people do need nursing home care, it can be hard to know what is available and what entitlements are. Information relating to nursing homes can be found on the HSE website.
The HSE has created a checklist to help inform decisions around choosing a private nursing home which can be accessed here, on the HSE website.
Below are steps the HSE suggests help inform this decision:
- Check the HSE/HIQA website for a list of nursing homes in the local area. Ask people you trust if they have had personal experience with nursing homes, they may be able to recommend one.
- Compare the quality of nursing homes being considered. Look at the inspection reports. These reports should not be used in isolation as they reflect a moment in time but they can assist you in making an informed decision.
- Visit the nursing homes you are interested in or have someone visit for you. A visit gives you the chance to see the residents, staff and nursing home setting. Before you visit, consider what is important to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask the staff to explain anything you see and hear that you don’t understand, ask who to call if you have further questions. Visit the nursing home a second time on a different day and at a different time than when you first visited the nursing home. Try to visit during late morning or midday. This allows you to see the residents when they are in their daily routine, mealtimes and what activities are taking place. You may need to make an appointment in advance prior to your initial visit
The Fair Deal scheme provides financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home. More information can be found on this section of the HSE website.
Age Action have a useful section on their website that addresses questions about nursing homes in Ireland. The section includes links for information about Nursing Home admissions, the Fair Deal Scheme, and more.
This information can be found at the following link: https://www.ageaction.ie/how-we-can-help/information/questions-about-nursing-homes. Age Action also have an information service open from 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, Monday to Friday. To speak to one of Age Actions trained information team, call 01-4756989.
The National Care Experience Programme seeks to improve the quality of health and social care services in Ireland by asking people about their experiences of care and acting on their feedback. The National Care Experience Programme is a joint initiative by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health. The National Care Experience Programme has a suite of five surveys that capture the experiences of people using Ireland’s health and social care services: the National Inpatient Experience Survey, the National Maternity Experience Survey, the National Maternity Bereavement Experience Survey, the National Nursing Home Experience Survey, and the National End of Life Survey.
The surveys aim to learn from people’s feedback about the care received in health and social care services to find out what is working well, and what needs to be improved. The first National Nursing Home Experience Survey took place in 2022. This survey offered residents in a representative sample of nursing homes in Ireland, and their relatives and friends, the opportunity to share their experiences of nursing homes. The result of the 2022 survey were published in November 2022. Find out more at www.yourexperience.ie.