The Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney, TD, announced the date for the introduction of the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal.
“I am delighted to announce that the Fair Deal scheme will begin on October 27th 2009. From that date onwards, people will be free to apply to the HSE for financial support towards nursing home costs under the rules of the new scheme,” said Ms Harney.
Ms Harney acknowledged that she was aware the people might wish to prepare for the scheme in advance, she has therefore signed an order that has taken effect from October 5th 2009. According to the Minister this will allow people to apply to the Circuit Court for appointment as a care representative where they wish to request the Nursing Home Loan on behalf of an applicant with reduced capacity.
”The HSE has also published the application form and information booklet for the scheme and these will be available from today onwards. This should enable people to familiarise themselves with the application form and process, gather necessary information and generally prepare themselves
so that they are ready to apply on October 27th when the scheme is introduced,” she added.
The scheme’s main purpose is to make long-term nursing home care accessible, affordable and anxiety free.
Áine Brady, TD, Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, welcomed the announcement for the introduction of the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme.
“The Fair Deal scheme aims to make long-term nursing home care accessible and affordable whether in a voluntary, public or private care home and will free families from anxiety over financial commitments for the care of their loved ones” she said.
Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Labour Spokesperson on Health, also welcomed the new scheme and said in a statement, “This scheme was first promised in 2006 and elderly people and their families have been anxiously waiting for the Minister to fulfil her promise to bring it in to operation. I have received many calls from elderly people who have been terrified that they would be put out of the nursing home they are in because their money has run out,” she said.
”Now that the scheme is starting the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, must make sure that sufficient funding is allocated to allow the full operation of the scheme in 2010 and not just for this year.
”I am concerned however that the scheme may not cover services like physiotherapy and chiropody that are necessities for many senior citizens and how can they pay for those out of the small amount of money they will have left when 80 per cent of their disposable income goes under ‘Fair Deal’ scheme?” she added.
”I would urge all eligible families to apply immediately. The process of applying is likely to be quite a complicated procedure and I am calling on the Minister to ensure that there is a free phone service put in place which will answer people’s questions,” she concluded. Information on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is available on the DOHC website, www.dohc.ie, or can be obtained by calling the HSE Info line 1850 24 1850.