Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that nursing homes must not be allowed to exploit older people with inappropriate contracts, and that the charging of services must be in line with ability of older people to avail of them.

Deputy Kelleher made the call after the Ombudsman intervened to protect an older person who had signed a contract that included services that the person could not avail of due to physical disabilities.

“Nursing homes, unfortunately in too many circumstances, see older people on the Fair Deal scheme as opportunities to make excessive profits.

“The management of nursing homes need to treat people as individuals and not assume that a one size fits all approach to contracts will work for all older people.

“I would call on any older person, or their representatives, to check, and double check the small print in the contracts that they sign with nursing homes.

“While the Fair Deal scheme will cover basic services, additional fees will apply for recreational or additional personal care services such as hairdressers.

“Nursing Homes Ireland, the national body for private nursing home care, should engage with their members to ensure that contracts do not force older people to pay for services they cannot enjoy.

“We all need to be vigilant with regard to older people and those seeking to profit from them, but I would hope that nursing home owners themselves would see that charging people for services they cannot avail of is totally wrong and unfair,” concluded Kelleher.