July 2021 – The Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) – a group of concerned volunteer citizens – is angry and saddened but not surprised at the scenes that unfolded on tonight’s Prime Time. In our view, many of these issues have been endemic for years – COVID-19 has just exposed the existing cracks and revealed the many practices that are lacking in dignity and disrespectful of human rights.

We express our sympathy and solidarity with all those impacted and their families. We pledge our commitment to continuing to campaign for changes in the care and quality of life of older people in residential care in Ireland. We stand united with Care Champions and other advocates in demanding change. Tonight, is the time for the ordinary, decent people of Ireland to say enough and to join our campaign. Our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, neighbours and friends deserve better.

We all need to understand what it is we should expect from nursing home. Better understanding and higher expectations among users are universally recognised as positives in driving up standards. Together, we can and will drive positive change. Our vision is a nursing home environment and ethos that provides a good quality of life and sense of wellbeing for residents; a regulatory regime that is committed to actively achieving same; a service that is grounded in human rights and that balances safety and risk with personal dignity and freedoms and an end to the institutional culture and practices that continue to bedevil the nursing home experience.

# olderpeopeldeservebetter #RightsDoNotGrowOld

If you are interested in learning more, volunteering your time or simply helping to amplify our voice, please follow us on Twitter https://www.twitter.com/nhqi1, visit www.nhqi.ie, and either telephone or complete the contact form here: https://nhqi.ie/#contact

For press enquiries, please contact: Annette Condon, 087 284 1951 annette.condon@nhqi.ie

About NHQI

Originally established in 2010, the group came together as volunteers in response to an invitation from HIQA to nursing home residents and their relatives to join a service user forum. At that time, the establishment of the Forum was cited by HIQA as a first step towards the creation of a wider network of service user contributors in relation to both nursing homes and other social service sectors within their remit. However, this has not happened and NHQI understands that HIQA is now following a different engagement strategy. The core group that remained active now operates independently of HIQA, has recruited new members, and continues to be committed to improving the quality of life of nursing home residents.

NHQI priorities include:

  • An independent, objective and transparent complaints management system that serves the interests of the complainant/victim in a timely manner and an independent advocacy services for residents and their families, supported by law.
  • Proper consultation with residents and relatives – in short, a complete reversal of the current relationship between providers, residents and their families based on inclusiveness and mutual support. We want to see a regulatory model that recognises residents and relatives as the major stakeholders and seeks every opportunity to engage collaboratively with service users and the wider community at multiple levels in accordance with best international practice.
  • A new model of regulation and inspection that is developmental in nature and is supported by structures that promote leadership and managerial competency and proactively addresses weaknesses in these areas. We want to see new emphasis on recognising and rewarding excellence rather than encouraging mediocrity – an unintended consequence of the current regulatory model.
  • A model of community clinical care and equality of access to community services – an end to discriminatory exclusionist practices that isolate residents from public health supports to which they are entitled prior to entry into nursing home care.
  • Improved staff training, hygiene and infection control.
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