Multi-million euro nursing home support scheme extended until September

Greg Mulhall

Reporter:

Greg Mulhall

Email:

greg.mulhall@iconicnews.ie

Multi-million euro nursing home support scheme extended until September

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has announced an extension to the Covid-19 Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme (TAPS) which was due to close this week, for a further three months.

In Ireland, over 30,000 citizens live in nursing homes. Residents of nursing homes are vulnerable because of their age, underlying medical conditions and often as a result of care needs involving close physical contact. This care and support is provided by dedicated staff across the country. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging and impactful on those who live in nursing homes, their families and all of those staff that provide these vital services, and we must therefore continue to provide focused and practical support to the services.

“While great strides have been made in the response to COVID-19, including further suppression of the virus in the community, I believe we must continue to provide support to nursing homes and contribute towards their continued planning, preparedness and response to COVID-19. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I am extending the Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme (TAPS) for 3 months, until the end of September,” said  Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD.

“This support, along with the broader package of supports provided by the State and its agencies to private and voluntary nursing homes aim to further contribute towards the range of public health measures required to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme was established as a temporary support mechanism to contribute towards costs associated with Covid-19 in nursing homes. The Scheme provides support payments to applicant nursing homes for April, May and June. The Scheme was due to close yesterday, Tuesday, but an extension to include further supports for July, August and September has been agreed.

This is a significant contribution to supporting the sector in its ongoing preparedness in managing and mitigating the impacts of Covid-19, and supporting and protecting residents. The extension of the Scheme allows these preparedness and management measures to continue to roll out and also provides certainty as to the conclusion of this temporary Scheme.

Additionally, significant systems and structures to facilitate the support of private and voluntary nursing homes have been put in place by the HSE and HIQA and have developed considerably over the past number of months. These non-financial supports come in the form of the supply of PPE, temporary accommodation for nursing home staff and through the HSE’s Crisis Response Teams including deployment of HSE staff. There is also a considerable amount of support in the form of telephone support, infection prevention and control support and Public Health support provided to nursing homes.

The extension of the Scheme also recognises all of these other supports and the extended Scheme will operate with some amendments including in relation to PPE, the monthly support caps and changes to the application process aimed at reducing administrative processes.