This past weekend (Sunday, 8 January), the UK Government unveiled plans to give NHS hospitals and extra £200 million in order to fund the moving of discharged patients from A&E to beds in care homes.

Now, Ireland is looking to make a similar move.

A Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) survey has confirmed approximately 70% of the country’s 440 private and voluntary nursing homes have capacity to facilitate discharges from hospitals.

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210 nursing homes responded to the snapshot survey undertaken in recent days.

147 nursing homes (70%) stated ‘yes’, they are in position to receive discharges from hospitals.

Within those homes, 760 beds are available. 63 nursing homes (30%) stated they are not in a position to receive discharges from hospitals.

With 440 private and voluntary nursing homes operating across the country, the strong indication is that over 1,000 beds are available across the sector, the NHI said.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, said: “There is requirement to ensure resources within the community are appropriately utilised to ensure people ready whose care within an acute setting is completed can be discharged and transitioned back into community care in a timely manner.

“Approximately 60% of the hundreds of people fit for discharge from our acute hospitals require the specialised, round-the-clock care provided by nursing homes, with nurses, healthcare assistants, therapeutic activities and day-to-day living needs encompassed within the care.

“Post hospital care, nursing homes specialise in providing convalescence and rehabilitative care that will support people’s transition back home. Long-stay care within a nursing home might also be most appropriate to their needs.

“We are engaged collaboratively with the HSE to inform of capacity within private and voluntary nursing homes to support timely discharge of patients back into the community where appropriate.”

Daly added: “The overcrowding crisis emphasises the critical role fulfilled by nursing home care and other services within our communities which must be appropriately resourced and placed on a sustainable footing to support our health services in functioning properly.

“We need to ensure services are consistently available within communities across the country and not limited to particular areas. The closure of over 40 nursing homes the past four years is leading to limitations of options available.”

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