Two more nursing homes to close amid costs crisis in care sector

Castleturvin House in Athenry, Co Galway, and New Lodge in Rathfarnham, Dublin, are latest to shut

Two more nursing homes are closing their doors in a further sign of the increasing regulatory and cost pressures in the sector, which has seen 12 other homes close this year.

Castleturvin House Nursing Home, a 42-bedroom nursing home in Athenry, Co Galway, said it has notified the State’s nursing home regulator, the Health and Information Quality Authority (Hiqa), of its intention to cease trading as a nursing home after 21 years in business.

The owners of the care facility said that it, like many other smaller, family-run and local community-based nursing homes, had “struggled against increasing cost pressures, including regulatory cost pressures, to continue to provide the best model of care for our residents”.

“It has been heartbreaking for our family to reach its decision but we are committed to ensuring the safe and planned discharge of all our residents,” said Carmel and Clodagh Killeen, the directors of Castleturvin House, in a statement released to The Irish Times.


Another nursing home, New Lodge, a 24-bed care facility in Rathfarnham, south Dublin, is closing on a phased basis over six months with the beds being brought into the mental health support facility operated by the nursing home’s owner Bloomfield Mental Health Services.

Regulatory compliance

Joe Kelly, chief executive of Bloomfield, said the nursing home was closing due to “continuing changes in best practices and the revisions and pace of regulatory compliance of late, coupled with the size of New Lodge nursing home at 24 beds”.

Bloomfield, which was founded by the Quakers in 1812, said the closure of New Lodge was a “difficult decision” for the charity, but that the 24 beds would added to its 115-bed centre for mental health services, also located at the Stocking Lane facility in Rathfarnham

The charity said it intended to use the beds to increase its services to those who suffer from Huntington’s, a neurodegenerative disease, and to expand its neurological rehabilitation services.

“The decision is taken in the best interests of the residents, families and staff as the organisation can no longer meet the continued and appropriate level of services in an ever-evolving and fluctuating situation of best practice, regulatory demands and evidence-based care,” said the operator.

Soaring energy and staffing costs and escalating regulatory demands set by Hiqa to meet higher healthcare standards are putting increasing financial pressure on smaller nursing homes of 40 beds or less, many of which have been run for years by families or local voluntary groups.

“Against these challenges, our commitment has always been not to accept any standard below which our residents and their family members deserve,” said the Killeens of Castleturvin.

Fair Deal scheme

They said the State funding models available – including the Fair Deal scheme which subsidises private nursing home care – “simply do not permit our nursing home to compete to this standard”.

From 2018 up to the end of last year, 29 nursing homes with fewer than 40 beds had closed. Sharp increases in electricity and gas bills this year have put further financial strain on nursing homes.

The latest closures will heap further pressure on the Government to act.

Nursing Homes Ireland, the representative body for the country’s almost 500 private and voluntary nursing homes, has asked the Government help the care homes with soaring running costs by increasing the subsidies paid under the Fair Deal scheme.

It has said that between 400 and 500 nursing home beds have been lost with closures in recent years and has warned that there could be further closures without Government support.

The Killeens said the nursing home was founded by a nurse who was “passionate for caring for older people and with a particular person in mind who had a diagnosis of dementia”. Referring to the “severity” of the running and regulatory costs “crisis” in the sector, Clodagh Killeen said it was “leading to devastating outcomes for our older people and our communities”.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times