18 July 2023

Call for Funding to Rehabilitate 90 Young People in Nursing Homes into the Community

We are appealing for funding to rehabilitate 90 young people in inappropriate placement in nursing homes back into the community. In 2021, The Ombudsman’s Wasted Lives report identified 1,300 people under 65 living inappropriately in nursing homes largely designed for the care of older people. Many are there because of the lack of appropriate services and suitable housing in the community. There is no pathway for them from hospital to home. It has now been more than two years since the publication of this report and very little has changed in that time.

The Ombudsman is planning an update of the Wasted Lives report this Autumn. Figures obtained by RTÉ News under the Freedom of Information Act showed that at the start of this year there were still 1,250 people under 65 in nursing homes with a majority of these living with acquired brain injury.

In our pre-budget submission for 2024, we are seeking a €4m allocation in Budget to take the first steps to begin to move 90 people with disabilities under the age of 65 out of nursing homes. With funding support of €4m in 2024, we can take the lead on solving this issue, working with the HSE, to support 90 people towards living independently in the community and provide them with a much improved quality of life.  There is a serious lack of services and funding in Ireland for anyone living with a brain injury or other neurological condition. As a result of this, too many people do not have access to the services they need.

With an allocation of €4m in Budget 2024, we could establish three National Assessment Teams to assess the needs of those under 65 inappropriately living in nursing homes; set out a pathway to support approximately 90 people to move back to community living and help to prevent future admissions. A further €500,000 would also enable a much needed Case Manager in each of the nine HSE CHO Areas. The National Neuro Rehabilitation Strategy (2011) sets out an ‘Ideal Pathway’ for those impacted by brain injuries and other neurological conditions. It sees survivors moving from acute hospital care, through specialist in-patient rehabilitation, then onto services like ours within the community.



If you have a brain injury in Ireland tomorrow, you will be rushed to hospital to save your life. However, after that it’s a lottery and dependent on where you live. At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we have a pathway that would resolve many of these issues and we can demonstrate that it works.

— CEO, Barbara O'Connell

This solution would not only support the HSE to reach its targets, but also provide significant value-for-money. It would also result in fewer prolonged stays in acute hospitals, free up essential beds, reduce the burden of care on families, and significantly reduce costs to the State.

We have many of the components of the pathway in place to help resolve the issues highlighted in the Wasted Lives report. Our proposal would see us extending our reach to other diagnostic conditions and working collaboratively with other organisations while managing the resources. We would become a one-stop-shop to help under 65s in nursing homes navigate the pathway back to the community, where they can rebuild their lives.

As shown in our pre-budget submission below, since 2000, 16 people have successfully transitioned from nursing homes to more appropriate settings via our Case Management service and 25 people have successfully transitioned from nursing homes to more appropriate settings via our Assisted Living service. If more funding is given, we can help even more people to transition out of nursing homes. We are asking the Government to address this urgent issue and change the lives of so many people who have been misplaced in nursing home settings.

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