Some 95 per cent of people on waiting lists for public nursing home beds are already accommodated in private nursing homes.
That’s according to the HSE West. It was replying to a question posed by city mayor and HSE Regional Health Forum West member Cllr Padraig Conneely about the provision of beds at St Anne’s community nursing home in Clifden.
Seamus McNulty, assistant national director of the health authority’s primary, community and continuing care department, outlined there are currently 14 people on a waiting list for the Clifden facility.
“However all of those are either in acute hospital beds in Clifden District Hospital or in private nursing homes. Those who are in acute hospital beds will be accommodated in private nursing homes when they are clinically deemed for discharge from the acute services.”
He outlined the HSE is committed to maintaining older people independently or with supports at home.
“These supports include home care packages and home help services thus ensuring only those requiring continuing care are referred to public or private nursing homes.
“It should also be noted there are 293 public long stay beds in Galway together with 1,578 beds in private nursing homes, giving a total bed population for Galway of 1,871.”
Mr McNulty outlined that it is generally accepted that about five per cent of the population over 65 years will require continuing care.
“This suggests there are sufficient beds in Galway to cater for a population over 65 years of age of 25,508 as per the 2006 census.”
However, at a recent HSE forum meeting city councillor and forum member Catherine Connolly said families were under huge financial strain trying to keep loved ones in nursing homes.
“People’s hearts are broken waiting for beds,” she stated.
Cllr Michael Mullins (Ballinasloe ) claimed the HSE was gradually disengaging from providing public care.
“I’m concerned there are less and less public beds. This is not the way we want to go.”