Despite the country being in the grips of the COVID 19 pandemic crisis and associated lockdown and restrictions, peoples need for long term care have not stopped or gone away. In fact, confinement to home and inability of some Homecare and Home help staff to continue to provide care and support services to older persons has increased the need for long term care facilities and resulted in many people realising that continued living at home is no longer possible. Unfortunately, like cancer and other conditions dementia and Alzheimer’s and other conditions have not gone away due to the crisis.
I am frequently asked the following questions which I will answer below.
• Are Nursing Homes open to new admissions?
• Is the Fair Deal/ Nursing Home Support Scheme open to new applicants?
• Are Nursing Homes safe and/or is my relative safer leaving the Nursing Home and being home cared during the crisis?
Are Nursing Homes open to admissions?
The answer to this question is yes, the majority of Nursing Homes are continuing to admit new Residents throughout the current crisis. The HSE recently announced additional funding for Nursing Homes to help them with the additional costs and staffing challenges faced by the crisis such as additional infection control equipment and the need for additional staff. As a condition of receiving this additional financial support Nursing Homes are required to continue to admit new Residents. Vacancies are continuing to arise in Nursing Homes for reasons not virus related.
Nursing Homes however will not be reckless in taking admissions and certain conditions will be in place before a Resident is admitted. These may include a minimum of 14 days quarantine period at home/hospital before admission and many Nursing Homes will require a COVID 19 free test result to ensure the safety of its Residents and Staff. Needless to say, any new Resident will be subject to the visiting restrictions in place in all Nursing Homes since March until the HSE deems it safe to relax them which could be some time yet. Some Nursing Homes have decided not to take new Residents in order to protect their Residents and Staff.
Is the Fair Deal/Nursing Home Support Scheme open to new applicants?
Yes, the Fair Deal scheme remains open as we are at www.fairdealadvice.ie offering professional independent advice on long term care and the Fair Deal from 9am to 9pm- 7 days a week. Applications are being processed in a timely manner by the HSE staff and funding is being allocated.
Are Nursing Homes safe and/or is my relative safer leaving the Nursing Home and being home cared during the crisis?
I believe that Nursing Homes remain the safest place for your loved ones to be cared in throughout the crisis. The Residents are continuing to get excellent care by the many unsung hero’s working as Carers, Nurses, Doctors and managers 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Strong infection control measures are in place as is access to medical devices if required. Nursing Homes are specialists in dealing with conditions such as the Winter Vomiting Bug and the Flu and many older persons have successfully beaten the COVID – 19 virus. If there is a COVID – 19 outbreak in a home with proper procedures and controls it can be contained and does not mean that all residents will become infected.
While Nursing Homes have had bad publicity regarding the Virus many of the countries Nursing Home have stayed virus free and those that have had instances of it are dealing with it without it spreading throughout the home. If someone gets ill in a Nursing Home, they have medical staff to administer the appropriate medical treatments. Compare this to trying to successfully isolate and care for a loved one at home with family members coming and going and its impossible. While its difficult not getting to see your loved ones be assured that they are getting the best of care and attention from their second family the Nursing Home staff and are looking forward to seeing you all again soon.
Remember when your loved one was admitted to a Nursing Home it was for a good reason. Most likely you could not meet their increasing care needs. Now that they have been in a Care Home for sometime you may well have forgotten how difficult home care was and, in the meantime, your loved one’s care needs will most likely have increased. You may not appreciate this as these care needs are being met on a daily basis by the expert care home staff.
You could take your loved one home but what if you can’t cope, what do you do when a medical issue arises? My advice is for you to keep your loved one in the Nursing Home it is in their best interest and safety.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or need professional independent advice on the Fair Deal and long term care please contact me on 086 601 5042 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org For further information visit www.fairdealadvice.ie.