The Government recognises that our ageing population will require the delivery of significant additional long-stay and step-down facilities. A comprehensive programme of investment in public nursing homes over the period 2016-2021 is well underway. The programme is aimed at maintaining the existing level of public bed provision and will also provide some additional capacity.
The National Development Plan provides capital funding over the next ten years for additional capacity requirements including 4,500 additional short-term and long-term beds across the public system in Community Nursing Units and other step-down facilities, as identified by the Health Service Capacity Review (2018).
Long-term residential care is often the most appropriate care option where an older person’s needs are complex. However, the care model for the older population requires further progress towards supporting older people to remain living independently at home for longer. This is a key tenet of Sláintecare and the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy. In this regard the Department is advancing work in relation to improved community supports, particularly in the context of the development of a Statutory Home Support Scheme and the further exploration of measures such as those outlined in the policy framework Housing Options for Our Ageing Population jointly developed by the Departments of Health and Housing, Planning and Local Government.