Fair Deal Scheme and Home Care
By Christine King, Director, Castle Homecare
Fair Deal is the government scheme which allows people to put the value of their own home against nursing home care. With a large ageing population in Ireland, the Fair Deal scheme is an incredibly relevant and important topic. Approximately 1 million people are expected to be over 65 by 2031, so it is pivotal that caring for these people and ensuring their wellbeing in their later years is a priority. As the Government looks at proposing plans to extend the scheme to home care, it is even more important to understand how this will affect older people.
As it stands, the Fair Deal is a scheme under which the cost of nursing home care is managed through the HSE paying either the full or part of the cost.
Understanding exactly how extending the Fair Deal scheme will work for home care is still unclear as the Government plans have yet to be outlined. There are still some major questions to be answered such as resourcing and regulation of the Scheme but it would be a huge positive step for Homecare to be covered.
Under the current scheme eligibility is based on two assessments: one being the care needs of the older person, their capacity for independent living and available support systems and the second being financial resources.
These assessments may present issues when looking at people who want to remain in their homes because part of determining how much residents of nursing homes pay towards their care under the current scheme involves taking into account assets such as land and property. So, assessing how much will be paid if you are actually living at home is a key detail that will need to be worked out.
As supporters of the Fair Deal scheme extending to home care, Castle Homecare believes it will provide people with a necessary choice in how they will be cared for in their older years. Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea has already introduced a bill in the Dáil to amend the Fair Deal scheme to make home care packages a statutory right. Fellow supporters include Helen McEntee, former Minister of state for mental health and older people who has expressed her favour of the extension in the media saying, ‘There needs to be, in my own view, a similar model for home help as there is for the Fair Deal.’ This view point has been continued by the new Minister, Minister Jim Daly, TD.
The extension of the Fair Deal scheme to homecare is a necessary and welcomed prospect, but the questions still remain as to how it will be resourced, monitored, measured and governed. We look forward with anticipation to hearing more about it in the months ahead. Fair Deal is one of the topics that will be discussed at ‘Thinking Ahead’ – a FREE information morning hosted by Brendan Courtney for Castle Homecare at the Stillorgan Park (now Talbot Hotel) on Thursday 28th September 2017.
Places are limited and will be awarded on a first come first served basis. To register your interest in attending please visit www.castlehomecare.ie.