As people begin to require more care, their day to day needs change in ways that they and their loved ones are not always prepared for. Specific supports are needed to assist the elderly in areas where they were once able to manage independently, and nursing homes provide a comfortable solution that allows residents to maximize their quality of life.
However, not everyone can afford to pay for long-term nursing home care, which is why financial support packages like the Fair Deal scheme exist. If you’re wondering how you’re going to be able to cover the costs of nursing home care for you or a loved one, then consider applying to the Fair Deal scheme today.
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What is the fair deal scheme
Also known as the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), the Fair Deal scheme is a government-supported initiative in Ireland that aims to provide financial aid to people who require long-term nursing home care. The scheme helps to cover the cost of all the benefits of nursing home life, including accommodation, food, and round the clock care.
How does the fair deal scheme work
Under the Fair Deal scheme, either the resident or family member who is responsible for the cost of their care pays a certain amount of the fee, while the HSE pays the rest.
Not everyone will qualify for the Fair Deal scheme, and for that reason there is an application process which comprises of two eligibility assessments. The first assessment evaluates the care requirements of the elderly person, their ability to live independently, and the level of existing supports they have at home and in their local community.
The amount which the HSE contributes towards the care home fees is determined by the second assessment, which takes into account the financial resources available to the applicant, for example their income and assets.
Who is eligible for the fair deal scheme
To apply for the Fair Deal scheme you must be ordinarily resident to Ireland and require long-term nursing home care.
The person in need of care is required to undergo an assessment of their health, personal and financial circumstances. Based on the results of these assessments, the HSE determines the amount of financial support that the person is eligible to receive.
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Care Needs Assessment for the Fair Deal scheme
The Care Needs Assessment is conducted by a qualified healthcare professional such as a Geriatrician or a District Health Nurse, who will look at the person’s medical history, their level of dependence, and their overall health status. As well as this, the Care Needs Assessment will examine what available supports are at home and in the community.
For the person to be eligible for the Fair Deal scheme, the recommendation from this assessment should be long term care in a nursing facility.
Financial Assessment for the Fair Deal scheme
The Financial Assessment examines the income of the applicant to determine what portion of the cost of nursing home care they will pay. For example, if the total weekly cost of nursing home care is €1100, and the applicant can only contribute €400, then state support of €700 weekly will be provided by the HSE.
The entire income of the individual will be taken into account during the Financial Assessment process, except if they are part of a couple, in which case their combined income and assets will be evaluated. A “couple” can refer to either a married couple or an opposite or same-sex couple who have lived together for at least three years.
During the Financial Assessment evaluation process, individuals are required to provide a comprehensive list of their assets and their corresponding values. This list should include various forms of property such as homes, leased properties, business premises, and farm lands. It should also encompass different forms of cash holdings such as pensions, interest on bonds, savings, and earned income.
Once the applicant’s income and assets have been assessed, the amount they pay towards the nursing home care will be decided. The yearly breakdown of the payment split is as follows:
Note: The first €36,000 of an applicant’s assets will not be factored into the Financial Assessment.
What does the Fair Deal scheme cover
The Fair Deal scheme applies to private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes, and covers all of the necessary items and expenses that arise as part of an effective care programme.
At FirstCare nursing homes our residents are surrounded by a kind and dedicated care team comprised of highly-qualified registered nurses and carers. This kind of support is an essential component of nursing home life, and the Fair Deal scheme makes it possible for more people to avail of it.
Individualised care focus involves a tailored plan including medical, physical and emotional care, certain therapeutic activities, specialised nutritional requirements and more. Everything that goes into the upkeep of this bespoke care plan will be covered by the Fair Deal scheme, as well as the aids and appliances that are needed by residents.
What does the Fair Deal scheme not cover
The Fair Deal scheme is for long term care plans only and does not apply to short-term care such as respite, convalescent or day-care.
As well as this, personal care items like toothpaste, shampoo and clothing will not be covered by the Fair Deal scheme, as well as any extra fees charged by the nursing home for services like hairdressing, therapies or activities.
Residents’ medication and GP charges will be covered by their medical card, and not the Fair Deal scheme. If they do not have a medical card the costs will be incurred by the resident or their family instead.
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How to apply for the fair deal scheme
To apply for the Fair Deal scheme you’ll need to fill out an application form, which can be found here. This form qualifies as your application for both the Care Needs assessment and Financial assessment.
You will need to gather certain documents to support your Fair Deal application, which are listed on pages 15 and 16 of the form. Once you have collected the necessary documents and completed the form, send the entire application to one of our nursing home’s support office.
If the applicant for the Fair Deal scheme is unable to complete the necessary forms themselves, a specified person may apply for them. A specified person could be a spouse or partner, a relative, or in some cases a Care Representative may be appointed by the Circuit Court to apply for the Fair Deal scheme on their behalf. This may be a relative or professional (GP, solicitor, social workers etc) who works with the person.
When to apply for the fair deal scheme
As with most applications for funding, a decision on whether or not access is granted to the Fair Deal scheme can take several weeks to be processed. On average, the wait time is between four to six weeks from the date which all the necessary documents and forms are submitted.
You or your loved ones can apply for the scheme for up to six months before it starts, and can also re-apply if it isn’t required during that time. The best time to apply to the Fair Deal scheme is as soon as it becomes clear that you or your family member is not going to be in a position to receive the right care living at home.
If you are unsuccessful in your application to the Fair Deal scheme, you will have to wait for six months before you can re-apply. The only exception to this rule is if you have had a change in circumstances that affects either your care needs or your financial support requirements.
For example, if you were deemed not to require long term nursing home care initially, a downturn in your health might alter the recommendation of the Care Needs assessment.
Use the fair deal scheme with First Care nursing homes
Moving out of your home into a new space is a big change and at FirstCare, we strive to make that transition as seamless as possible.
Choose from one of our four approved nursing homes locations and let our healthcare professionals help you get settled in to live independently in a safe, secure environment.
Located in Dublin, Bray, Wicklow and Kildare, get in touch to find out which nursing home is best suited to your specific needs and comforts.
In each of our nursing homes, families can rest assured their loved one is receiving 24 hour care from registered nursing homes with personalised care representatives in place.
Each of our patients benefit from:
From certain therapeutic activities to a sense of community and homely atmosphere, our locations aim to replicate the family home for each resident as much as possible.