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Fees for religious services among care charges criticised as unfair by advocacy group February 13, 2023

RTE News, 13th February, 2023 - by Fergal Bowers, Health Correspondent

The national advocacy organisation for older people, Sage Advocacy, has said that unfair nursing home charges in the private sector are the result of long-term State underfunding and care profiteering.

It has called for major reforms in the sector.

Sage Advocacy CEO Mervyn Taylor said that in a recent review of cases the charity found growing levels of debt related to charges for services in private nursing homes, with some residents being charged over long periods of time for items that could have been purchased at a fraction of the charges.

"One resident was charged for gloves to stop them removing their incontinence wear. In another case a resident was faced with notice to quit because their family was unable to pay increased charges. We have also heard that some nursing home residents are being charged for religious services," he said.

The organisation has been responding to a media report in yesterday's Irish Mail on Sunday, on nursing home charges.

Sage Advocacy has called for the Commission on Care for Older People, which was promised in the current Programme for Government, to be set up.

Mr Taylor said he welcomed a commitment made by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler to develop a new policy on additional charges, and also her comment that the State should be the main provider of long-term care.

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