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Ombudsman report recognises importance of Advocacy support for younger people in nursing homes

May 5, 2021

The National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS) welcomes the findings of the ‘Wasted Lives’ report published today (Wednesday 05 May, 2021) by the Ombudsman, calling for a better future for younger people living in nursing homes in Ireland.

NAS, which is funded by the Citizens Information Board, provides free, independent and confidential representative advocacy to people with disabilities across Ireland. The Service’s Advocates work with people under 65 with disabilities living in nursing homes, supporting them to access information and make decisions about their care. NAS worked closely with the Ombudsman to help these people tell their stories.

NAS supports the Ombudsman’s investigation which found that Ireland still has progress to make in advancing from a medical model of disability to a social model, and that various changes need to be made to the system to facilitate a person-centred approach to care and one which is in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Ireland’s own strategic approach to disability.

It backs the Ombudsman’s call for the HSE to develop a comprehensive information package giving people the guidance they need to access advocacy services.

NAS also welcomes the Ombudsman’s call for appropriate funding and resources for the National Advocacy Service.

Each year, NAS is being asked to provide support for more people on an increasingly complex range of issues, including housing, healthcare, personal finance and family issues. More resources for advocacy services will ensure people with disabilities across Ireland, including younger people with disabilities in nursing homes, can access the support they need.

The Patient Advocacy Service, which is provided by NAS, will shortly begin to offer advocacy support for people in HSE operated nursing homes. This Service currently provides independent, free and confidential support to people who wish to make a complaint about their care in a public acute hospital.

Louise Loughlin, National Manager of the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS), said: “We welcome this important report by the Ombudsman which clearly shows that steps must be taken to improve the situation of younger people with disabilities who are living against their will in nursing homes across Ireland.

“The report also recognises the key role that advocacy services, such as the National Advocacy Service, have in ensuring that these people are aware of their rights and entitlements when it comes to their care. It is imperative that advocacy services receive the resources and recognition they need to support as many people as possible with disabilities across Ireland.”

Read the Ombudsman’s report Wasted Lives: Time for a better future for younger people in nursing homes’ 

For enquires please contact:
Andrew Kennedy, Communications Officer
T: 08 74 40 9972