Urgent advice needed re nursing home/subvention

Hello there, please can I ask your opinion what to do?
Brief outline:
My dad is 74 - the youngest of his family,most late 80’s.
His sister who is nearest him in age has alzeimers/dementia and is in a nursing home in Donegal.
The rest of the family have not been in touch with this sister for years and indeed some live abroad - they do not want anything to do with her. She has no husband/children.
Dad simply does not have the money to pay for his sisters nursing care. He also has had numerous heart attacks and goes weak quickly under pressure.
This morning someone called him complaining we have to fill in the subvention form and wants us to move my aunt to another nursing home. The one she is in is state run (they brought her in)and her pension covers the bed (I thnk its a contract bed???). If we move her anywhere else would cost an extra 500 a week and we simply don’t have it. We are perfectly happy for the state to put a charge on her home, which is a good property but obviously in the present climate nothing is moving.
So I am going down today to meet this aggressive individual who ranted at my poor dad on the phone…what will I say or not say. To be honest, there is nothing we can do… :frowning:

edit the subvention form cannot be filled in fully yet since the solicitor is doing probate on my grandfathers will (the aunt was supposed to have done this but didn’t face it so we only realised when she went to the nursing home). Therefore we can’t say how much money she has until it’s concluded. At the moment we are waiting for share certificates she burned to be replaced!!!Anyway - she will have under 22,0000 euro after its over…

Refuse absolutely to move. Fill in all the paperwork and make sure the 't’s are crossed and the 'i’s dotted - do everything entirely properly - this may require you to find out a lot more about the rules than you would like.

Ask the same question on askaboutmoney.com - there are a number of posters there who have good advice regarding nursing homes.

Contact age action Ireland aswell and the Alzheimer’s society. They can provide good advice and support, but it may depend on the person (I had great help from the Alzheimer’s society local to my mother).

To protect your father from further hassle, you may want to remove him as the contact point for your aunt. Is she a ward of court? Is there a will? Or a power of attorney?

Did your aunt ever work in the north? (i.e. does she have an NI number) Or does she have relatives there? If so, look into a nursing home there - the UK system is far, far better. The ‘in need of continuing care’ test in the UK means that nothing is payable if the person is unable to look after themselves. Nothing as in nada, zero, zip…

The family home payment scheme for nursing homes is being stalled by the government still, despite promises that it would be in place by January 2008. I had to put my mother into a nursing home (early onset vascular dementia) last year. The choice was ‘trust us, we’re the government, we’ll have the scheme in place’ or move her to a nursing home in England near where my sister lives. It was a really difficult choice at the time to move her out of Ireland (never mind the difficulty of actually institutinalising her in the first place), but I am so glad we did do it.

I don’t believe the nursing home bill in its current form will ever see the light of day. Property prices are falling too fast for it to be effective.

The best of luck.

TD. Minister for Health. Local Councillor. Get names and document everything.

Ring the politicians, costs nothing and they do fuck all else. DO NOT move her because possession is 9/10 of the law and they are hoping you are an easy touch.

This is pretty serious, you should be very careful about getting involved (sign nothing).
She has a place, they cannot turf her out on the street. The best thing you can do is seek some free independent advice, citizens advice centres would be a good place to start.

I don’t think there is a central website as different citizens advice bureaus are independent. This one is in Buncrana buncrana@citinfo.ie

Firstly, why is the State trying to move her to another nursing home ? Is it a funding issue or a medical one ?

The State is trying to have its cake and eat it- they are obliged to look after your aunt but are trying to worm out of paying. Your aunt is vulnerable and needs to be protected - strictly speaking, making a decision for an demented person that results in them being worse off is a form of elder abuse.

Legally, your family are under no obligation to provide for her care (the moral obligation is separate). Strictly speaking, she must be made a ward of court. This costs about €8000 which can come out of her estate (your comma is in an odd place wrt to her estate - do you mean under 22,000 or under 220,000). Until then, my understanding is that noone has the right to access her bank accounts / her home equity, even if they are acting with the best of intentions. The Courts usually appoint a family member to the committee.

Its disgraceful that an “aggressive individual” would rant at your Dad, accepting the accuracy of that report !

I concur with the advice to go to Alzheimer’s society. I am unsure where, in the community, you might get some independent advice from a social worker but your GP / Public Health Nurse and or local public health centre might be able to point you in the right direction.

And unfortunately, I concur with the advice to hassle your local TD/councillors. Squeaky wheels get the most oil. This perpetuates our gombeen system but your first obligation is to protect your family. (then vote the fuckers out come the next election!)

This link seems helpful

citizensinformation.ie/categ … ional_care

This is the one situation that the local gombeen politician may be able to help. I would get direct on to them. It would not be in their interest to have nursing home patients turfed out. Get straight on to the local councillor

Talk to Joe.


We put my mum in a nursing home in Rathfarnham recently (Alzheimers). Costs € 1,600 per week!!! Subvention € 305 pw - absolutely mad. I agree with YM that the new scheme will be delayed and delayed and will probably never see the light of day.

My father-in-law died in a Donegal state home last year - vascular dementia. Staff were excellent even if the home itself had the decor of a Carry on Doctor era.

With the subvention scheme the state does not get to keep the OAP.

Good luck.

Thank you :smiley: - my husband printed out your replies and dad and I read them. Great advice and it left us prepared for our big meeting.
When the official in question asked us what** you **are going to do I explained we had not the financial ability to do anything but we were happy for the state to put on charges on the family home that is owned by my aunt. The official also asked “but this is a short term care facility so where are **you **going to place her, which home x or y” Again, I explained that was obviously not our choice but I trust the decision will be made on what is best for my aunt".
I was pushed again for the subvention form but explained I could not fill it in since it involved disclosing how much money my aunt had in her bank. Due to the final stages of my grandas probate that can only be declared when the solicitor gives her a cheque for her share. I can’t guess the amount and I am not going to lie.
I also marked her card about my dads condition, explaining on past occasions I had to take my dad straight from visiting my aunt in the nursing home to the heart ward in our hospital - all through stress.
To be fair I think the official was doing her job but your advice stopped us from falling in to a trap that we simply could not manage. Dad and I really appreciate it. She concluded the meeting by telling me to submit the subvention form filled in with as much as possible and my aunts case would be before the panel soon…though a contract bed may not be available for ages. (Hopefully because my aunt tells me she likes where she is.)
With regards to assets her house was valued at 320, 000 in September in Buncrana.
I think (and it is a guess) her bank account will end up being around 20,000 euros.

The problem with the house is access, it is on a dreadful corner and the gate is narrow - it really is a death trap. It’s just sitting there…we don’t know whether to rent it or not. Insurance is 1,300 euro for 6 months because it is unoccupied.However if there was a rental income it will be taken by the state/subvention and dad and I will have all the bother of sorting it out (I can just about cope with my dad and his convoluted affairs).Also even if dad wanted to (which he doesn’t) it is our aunts home to sell - not ours.

Anyway, I’m rambling and the point is to say we really appreciated all the advice.

ps although we live in northern ireland it (a n.ireland nursing home)wouldn’t be an option for my aunt who has rather strong opinions on the issue shall we say.

Some nursing homes also try to add on ‘lifestyle’ add ons that are not agreed.

A friend of mines mother was in a nursing home and the phone started hopping one day as the nursing home loudly demanded €500 for 2 months ‘extras’ , manicures, pedicures, hair stylist , the lot.

Fortunately my friend said , ’ fax over the contract as I am not at home’ and that more or less finished them off .

They tried it on a few more times and every time he asked for the contract by fax .

Sad to say, there’ll come a stage where she won’t know…

I’d delighted the meeting went well for you, the best of luck with your continuing struggle.

Now that you are over the first step, I would for sure contact some of the voluntary organisations to see what options are open to you. I believe your aunt’s savings are below the limit where they are counted (I think it’s 30k now) towards the means test for subvention, but you should check this with the voluntary organisations. The house will be treated as though it is rented in terms of it providing an income, but this is a problem for the social services/health board as they work out how much she should pay and how much they should.

Keep filling in the forms to the level that you feel comfortable with.


Good luck again.

Edit: Tax relief on nursing home costs available at 41% still in 2009. Will change to standard rate (20%) from 01.01.10.

I agree with most of the replies. I do wonder if agreeing to do the form-filling will place the responsibility for your Aunt’s care on to you which could be why they are so anxious for you to do it. Definitely go to the Age Action etc for advice but I wouldn’t sign anything until I knew exactly what they were doing.
I had a terrible dilemma with my own mother who last year was dying of cancer. She was in hospital and in need of a great deal of care and pain management. The hospital pressured me continually into taking her home. Luckily I had spoken to my GP who said that there was no palliative care service in Wicklow - only two nurses for the entire county and one of these was on sick leave. My GP had witnessed distressing scenes where the family had no nursing support or pain management for their terminally ill relative. I absolutely refused to take my mother home knowing there was no care system - she was extremely ill and in dreadful pain. The hospital sent several staff members, social workers, palliative care managers etc etc to bully, emotionally blackmail and otherwise pressure me. I refused to the point of telling them that that if they were going to put my mother out of the hospital they would have to do it over my dead body. This eventually worked but I cannot fully explain here how bad and traumatic this was at a time my mother was dying in an unimaginably awful way. The best advice I got was from cancer support who said beds were like gold-dust and to do whatever it took to hold on to it.
Eventually they found a place in a hospice for her where the care was excellent and she died in peace and in comfort. But I will never ever forget or forgive those in government who have run down our health services to this extent all while we were supposedly on the back of the celtic tiger. All of us will be old one day and some of us will be very ill and vulnerable we need to remember this.
I wish you all the best with your Aunt but remember these people who are ringing your father are trying to bully an elderly man so they can shift their responsibility on to him. Don’t let them bully you - unfortunately they are used to dealing with vulnerable people who are frightened by their perceived authority. Repeatedly tell them you feel bullied - they don’t like you saying it like it is.

This happens in every county in Ireland, not just in Wicklow. Every hospital has bullying hectoring staff members who try to hound their patients relatives into taking them out . This is their job. This has always been the way of the health system.

As soon as you say " I want all of that in writing, go to the office and type it out" they disappear …only to send another bullying chancer down to try the same routine . Eventually you arrive at an impasse. They will never write down what they say to you and they run out of bullies. In a large hospital they will try to set 3 or 4 of them on you together .

UCHG in Galway has some extremely obnoxious types with important 'managerial ’ positions who specialise in ‘obtaining’ discharges , not just cancer patients either .

Fortunately Galway has a hospice but the palliative care nurses ‘in the community’ are underfunded and bad as Galway can be sometimes it is worse in the rest of Connacht. As well as that some nurses work for the state and some for the hospice from what I know . Getting a written palliative care plan from the state sector is strongly advised.

Eventually they will find an appropriate step down environment such as a hospice or a nursing home with palliative care facilities …once they realise that you are not prepared to be bullied.

GPs are in a bind, they know well this is going on but all they can advise you on is how to fight the bullies. Clinically , and narrowly , the hospital is correct and therefore the GP cannot disagree on strictly clinical grounds.

Thanks again for all the good sound advice.

Excellent :smiley: , I will use this particularly if they hassle dad again.

I am sorry about your mum, that sounds like a total nightmare. I do appreciate how valuable the bed is. My aunt cannot be sent home, she would be a real danger to herself.

I will indeed seek the advice recommended, thanks.
Finally before I send off the subvention for (partially complete) on Monday I will give the valuer a call and ask him has the house depreciated since September so I can put in the right figure…he is an estate agent so it should be interesting.

Cheers everyone.

I’ve been told that nurses aren’t allowed cut nails, so, in order to avoid possibly high “extras” in the future, I suggest one cuts elderly relatives’ fingernails whenever one is visiting them in the hospital. :wink:

There sure are some really decent honest folk on the pin, willing to help people out when they need it, would give you a lot of hope in humanity even in these difficult cynical times. Best of luck with everything OP.