Press Release

Wednesday 5th May 2021

 The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, the Minister for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, have welcomed the publication of the Ombudsman report today (5 May 2021) ‘Wasted Lives: Time for a better future for younger people in Nursing Homes”. The report outlines the Ombudsman’s findings arising from an investigation relating to the placement of people under 65 in nursing homes.

Minister Donnelly said:

The Programme for Government commits to reducing and providing a pathway to eliminate the practice of accommodating young people with serious disabilities in nursing homes. For those younger people living in nursing homes, including those mentioned in the Ombudsman report, alternative solutions are needed to give them more independence and choice in their daily lives.

Minister Rabbitte said:

This year we secured an additional €100m investment in our specialist disability services for new measures. This includes €3m which will support a pilot project by the HSE which aims to facilitate 18 people currently placed in nursing homes to move to more appropriate housing options in the community. The HSE plan to conduct a mapping and consultation exercise to identify the number of people with disabilities living in nursing homes who wish to access an alternative support service in the community. The CHOs have been asked to identify people who would like to take part in this year’s pilot project and their needs will be assessed to inform person-centred care and transition plans. The first moves are expected to commence in the second half of this year.

Minister Rabbitte continued:

It is concerning to hear about the difficult experiences of some of the young people who gave their personal testimonies to the Ombudsman and it is sad that some feel their lives have been wasted. The Transforming Lives programme highlights the need for people with a disability and their families to have a say and be able to access the supports they need to live fully included lives as valued members of the community and to give them greater independence and choice in their daily lives. As Minister for Disability, I am committed to working towards making this aspiration a reality for people with a disability and their families.

 Minister Butler said:

I welcome the fact that the Ombudsman’s report acknowledges the work being done by my Department on establishing a statutory home support scheme.  The provision of home support on a statutory basis is key to giving younger people with complex disabilities more alternatives to nursing home care and wider opportunities to live fuller, more independent lives. I am also delighted that HSE Disability and Older Persons Services are collaborating on this project which will give us a better insight into the care and support needs of younger people in nursing homes.

 In conclusion, Minister Donnelly said:

I would like to thank the Ombudsman and his team for conducting this report and publishing his findings today. The findings and recommendations will inform work already underway to improve the quality of life of young people with disabilities and to give them the opportunity to live ‘ordinary lives, in ordinary places’ in line with the vision of Transforming Lives.