Con­fu­sion on price list at Gal­way home

Ad­di­tional charges be­ing waived for res­i­dents, says man­ager

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Special Ivestigation - Wayne O’Con­nor

THE con­fu­sion sur­round­ing nurs­ing homes and ad­di­tional charges is un­der­lined in the case of Cor­ran­dulla Nurs­ing Home in Gal­way.

On Septem­ber 6, Cor­ran­dulla was con­tacted by an un­der­cover Sun­day In­de­pen­dent re­porter who told staff that he was re­search­ing nurs­ing homes for an aunt who was pre­par­ing to go into long-term care. He asked for in­for­ma­tion on costs and ad­di­tional charges that she would have to pay on top of her Fair Deal con­tri­bu­tion.

Cor­ran­dulla’s per­son in charge and di­rec­tor of nurs­ing, Aish­ling Hay­den-Abed, replied to our email and pro­vided a res­i­dents’ guide and ‘ad­di­tional charge in­for­ma­tion’.

“Should you have any ques­tions or queries please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact me or one of my col­leagues,” she added.

The list of charges she sent was dated Au­gust 1, 2017, five weeks be­fore our ini­tial in­quiry. It dis­closed in­for­ma­tion of a €1.50-per-hour charge for rentable mo­bil­ity equip­ment such as wheel­chairs and walk­ing aids. Per­sonal use of a tele­vi­sion was listed at €7 per week with an ad­di­tional €3 per week for per­sonal use of a ra­dio.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing art, live and recorded mu­sic, bingo, bak­ing, rem­i­nis­cence ther­apy, films, knit­ting and board games were charged at a rate of €10 per cal­en­dar month. Charges for es­corted travel and trans­porta­tion to and from the home were also listed be­side costs for com­puter us­age, in­ter­net ac­cess and tele­phone calls.

Our ‘nephew’ replied to the home seek­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the tele­vi­sion charge.

“There is a TV in all rooms and in the three sit­ting rooms that the res­i­dent would have ac­cess to for free,” said Ms Hay­den-Abed.

“The charge is if some­one wants an ad­di­tional con­nec­tion to the TV or wants it changed to a dif­fer­ent type of TV.” Last week, the Sun­day

In­de­pen­dent con­tacted Cor­ran­dulla openly with de­tails of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a num­ber of fol­low-up ques­tions.

The home said it had not im­ple­mented many of the charges in­cluded on the list. Nurse man­ager Michael Hay­den added that the list of charges was not com­pleted and was un­der re­view.

Mr Hay­den said the price list sent af­ter our ini­tial in­quiry was a “draft doc­u­ment of sam­ple ser­vices that are not cov­ered by the Fair Deal scheme”.

How­ever, there was no men­tion of this be­ing a draft doc­u­ment or these charges be­ing un­der re­view dur­ing our first ex­changes with the nurs­ing home.

“We be­lieve that should res­i­dents be charged for ser­vices that are not cov­ered by the Fair Deal but are com­pul­sory, many would ex­pe­ri­ence un­nec­es­sary hard­ship,” said Mr Hay­den.

He added that Cor­ran­dulla ab­sorbed costs based on the re­la­tion­ship it has with its res­i­dents. He said it fo­cused on res­i­dents rather than in­creas­ing rev­enue.

“Where some of our res­i­dents re­quire non­com­pul­sory/com­pul­sory ser­vices they needed, rather than wanted, but could not af­ford, we have waived the costs and have paid for them from busi­ness/per­sonal as­sets — as we have friend­ships with many long- term res­i­dents — which re­sults in un­nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial costs for the busi­ness.

“I per­son­ally be­lieve that if all nurs­ing homes were paid the same amount, based on a coun­try-wide aver­age, in­stead of cur­rent pric­ing meth­ods, the scope of the Fair Deal could be re­al­is­ti­cally ex­panded to in­clude some, if not all, of the com­pul­sory ser­vices and maybe even some of the non- com­pul­sory ones,” he added.

“Cur­rent Na­tional Treat­ment Pur­chase Fund pric­ing is not very ne­go­tiable. The prices of­fered are not linked to wages or in­fla­tion. In­de­pen­dent or small nurs­ing homes are not the cash cows many peo­ple ap­pear to be­lieve, with many fam­ily owner­op­er­ated nurs­ing homes try­ing hard to pro­vide a home­like qual­ity ser­vice that they can be proud of.

“As this nurs­ing home has grown, we have ex­panded and im­proved the qual­ity of our fa­cil­i­ties, and have re­duced our bed ca­pac­ity.”

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