Hiqa not to change how it applies State nursing-home standards
Report said most publicly run facilities would not meet standards to apply from 2015
Kathleen Lynch: said the authority was “very reasonable”
The health services safety watchdog has said it will not change how it applies official standards which State-run nursing homes around the country will have to meet within the next two years.
Earlier this month The Irish Times published details of a confidential report for the Government that maintained that if the Health Information and Quality Authority enforced new standards scheduled to come into force in 2015, only 10 of more than 100 facilities around the country would comply and would be able to continue in operation.
The viability report said the State could have to invest hundreds of millions to upgrade facilities providing residential accommodation for more than 7,000 older people.
After details of the report emerged, the Minister of State for Health, Kathleen Lynch, said the authority was “very reasonable” and once it saw that work had started to address the problems in older units, the Government could “negotiate” to keep them open.
However an authority spokesman said it “does not intend to change how we apply the standards and regulations” in relation to nursing homes.
State-run homes were given seven years to comply with the standards, with a deadline of July 2015. However the viability report given to the Government said the financial climate had limited the availability of capital investment over the last three years.
It is understood that earlier this week the authority’s chief executive Tracey Cooper told the representative group Nursing Homes Ireland in a letter that its regulatory notice regarding standards in residential care facilities applied to all registered centres. She said: “This position has not changed and we have not entered into any ‘negotiations’ on this issue with any organisation.
“The authority remains fully committed to its responsibilities in respect of raising the standards of care across all centres through its equitable application of the national standards as we have been doing over the last three years and will continue to do.”
In a regulatory notice issued last April the authority said the desired outcome in relation to its standard 25, dealing with the physical environment of residential facilities, was that each resident could live their life in a setting where “the location, design and layout of the residential care setting are suitable for its stated purpose” and the centre was “accessible, safe, hygienic, spacious and well maintained and met residents’ individual and collective needs in a comfortable and homely way”.
“Demonstrating that the outcome is met is the key requirement falling on the provider. Presented with the standard are criteria which are supporting statements that set out what the service may consider in order to meet the standard and achieve the required outcome. All of the criteria do not have to be in place for the outcome based standard to be met. They are indicative, rather than prescriptive. The list of criteria provided is not an exhaustive list and the residential service may meet the requirements of the standard in alternative or different ways.