As the overcrowding problem continues in hospitals throughout the country, there are 18 beds available in seven nursing homes in County Donegal that could be used to ease the crisis.
That’s according to a survey carried out two days ago by Nursing Homes Ireland, the umbrella body for the country’s nursing homes.
NHI CEO Tadhg Daly says nursing homes are key to relieving the pressure within hospitals.
Overall, across the country, there are almost 176 nursing homes with 742 beds available.
Fewer than half of all nursing homes responded to the snapshop survey on January 4th, leading NHI to say the actual number of beds availaable may be much higher.
Tadhg Daly says the nursing home care offered better value for money for older delayed discharge patients.
Meanwhile, Maura Hickey, Industrial Relations Officer with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisations, says the volume of overcrowding in Letterkenny University Hospital cannot be allowed to continued.
Maura Hickey is now calling on the HSE to make contact with neighbouring hospitals in Northern Ireland in an effort to deal with the situation.
She says that in border areas such as the North West, dealing with hospitals in the North is an avenue that should be explored