Limerick hospitals urged to be 'proactive' in engaging with nursing homes amid overcrowding crisis

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Limerick hospitals urged to be 'proactive' in engaging with nursing homes amid overcrowding crisis

THERE COULD be 100 available beds across the public and private nursing home sector in Limerick as University Hospital Limerick continues to struggle with its ongoing overcrowding crisis. 

That is according to Nursing Homes Ireland which is now urging Limerick hospitals to be “proactive in their engagement” with nursing homes “with view to alleviating the persistent overcrowding” at UHL. 

On a daily basis, particularly over the busy winter period, UHL deals with large numbers of elderly and frail patients, and many of whom are left waiting on a trolley for treatment for hours and sometimes days. 

According to Nursing Homes Ireland, there are 1,126 registered beds in the 24 private and voluntary nursing homes across the county. 

“A snapshot survey undertaken by NHI earlier this week informed nine nursing homes in the county had 44 beds available to provide care. Replicated across the county this would equate to approximately 100 beds being available in private and voluntary nursing homes,” NHI said this week. 

Speaking on the issue of overcrowding, NHI CEO Tadhg Daly said that nursing homes are equipped with “teams of nurses, carers and support staff who can provide specialist respite, rehabilitative, transitional or long-term care to improve the health and wellbeing of a person recovering from a stay in hospital.

“They are also the most appropriate setting for a person who requires round-the-clock care and support in their recovery. Timely transfer of patients from the hospital back into the community via nursing home care will support the patient and hospital and its staff in freeing up beds and facilitating admissions. It is important the HSE engages with local nursing homes to ensure the critical role of nursing homes is fulfilled in alleviating overcrowding.”

Mr Daly added: “I would also urge older people in University Hospital Limerick and their families to consider their preferred nursing home if a period of rehabilitation or an extended stay removed from the hospital is a likely requirement. Their consideration should entail preliminary engagement with the nursing home and with hospital staff to discuss support available to facilitate a timely discharge. HSE provide transitional care funding to support patients and their families to meet the cost of transitional care in a nursing home care. The budget has increased year-on-year and families should be aware it is a support to enable timely discharge from hospital back into the community.”