Anyone who is assessed as requiring long-term nursing home care can avail of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, regardless of age. Furthermore, the legislation underpinning the Scheme provides that individuals can choose their nursing home, subject to the availability of a bed and the ability of the nursing home to meet their care needs. However, it is a matter for the nursing home to determine whether it is in a position to meet an individual's care needs. In doing so, it must have regard to any conditions attached to its registration by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
When HIQA commenced the registration and inspection process in 2009, it applied certain conditions similar to the one referred to by the Deputy, i.e. that accommodation could not be provided to persons with dementia aged under 65 years. However from 2011 nursing home providers were invited to apply for a variation to their original registration, including the circumstances referred to by the Deputy, if they so wished. While a number of providers availed of this alternative approach, others chose not to. However, I understand that the application process in these circumstances does not normally give rise to any undue delay.