Over 22,000 people supported by Nursing Homes Support Scheme

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There were 22,301 people supported by the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) in October 2021.

Of these 4,487 resided in a public nursing home, while 18,104 were in a private nursing home. The NHSS budget was €1.04 billion. 

These figures were revealed in the Value for Money and Policy Review of Nursing Home Care Costs.

The report was produced by an independently chaired steering committee, comprising representatives of the Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the NTPF the HSE and the ESRI.

The purpose of the Review was to identify and analyse the reasons for any cost differential between the provision of care in private/voluntary and public nursing homes.

Whilst the report identified differences in the cost to the state of care provided in public and private nursing homes, these did not lead to differences in the cost to the individual- which is determined by a person’s financial assessment, based on their own assets and income. 

The report found that the cost differential was largely driven by variances in staff-to-resident ratios and the skill mix in public and private nursing homes. However, the review also found that establishing like-for-like comparisons was complex and not always possible, especially when considering differences in dependency levels. 

The report made nine recommendations for improving the value for money obtained by the State, covering various aspects of the issues considered. These included, for example, the roll out of a standard assessment tool for care needs, agreement on a safe staffing and skill mix framework for residential care and supporting people to live in their own communities for longer through the provision of home support.

Significant work is underway in each of these areas and all recommendations are to be taken forward by the Department of Health and other stakeholders. 

NTPF negotiations relate to private and voluntary nursing homes. Public (HSE) nursing homes are not subject to the negotiation process. The HSE determines the cost of care for public nursing units.

The current NTPF criteria for price negotiations are:

1.The costs reasonably and prudently incurred by the home and evidence of value for money.

2.The price(s) previously charged.

3.The local market price.

4.Budgetary constraints and the obligation of the State to use available resources in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner.