I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 272 together.
A key principle underpinning Government policy is to support older people to live in their own home as long as possible.
There will, however, always be people whose needs are best met in a residential care setting or supported housing model. There are 10 Supported Care Homes in Community Healthcare Organisation Area 5 providing accommodation and support services to older people with low to medium dependency levels. The residents cannot be maintained independently at home, but do not yet require nursing home care.
The HSE acknowledges the role played by these Homes in reducing possible admission to nursing homes and I have been assured by the HSE that it is committed to ensuring Supported Care Home are supported. The HSE will provide about €2.5 million in Section 39 funding this year towards the operational costs of the Homes.
HIQA is the independent statutory body established to register and inspect all residential homes for older people. The current regulatory regime aims to ensure the provision of high-quality, safe and effective services to people living in these centres, whether they are nursing homes providing 24-hour nursing care or supported care homes for people with lower dependencies.
As people get older, their housing needs may change. Earlier this year the Government published a Policy Statement “Housing Options for our Aging Population” which provides a policy framework to support our aging population through increasing the accommodation options available to them and give them meaningful choice in how and where they choose to live. It also sets out a package of key actions to assist the development of models of supported housing that promote integration between housing and health and social care services.
An Inter-Departmental and Inter-Agency Implementation Group has been established to progress the programme of actions contained in the policy statement. This will assist in developing a menu of solutions which are available nationally to provide enhanced housing and support options for older people.
The level of funding available to supported care homes is being considered in the context of the Estimates and the National Service Plan for 2020.