Government paid €2.8 million in 2010 for elderly residing in private homes

294 elderly residents in private homes paid by public private partnership during 2010, for which government paid €2,826,627.

Launched in October 2001, the public private partnership scheme encouraged operators of private care homes to take part in a scheme through which the government would purchase long term care beds in private homes.

The last expression of interest was issued in May 2009 and the next expression of interest is due to be issued in the coming months.

Elderly persons who are approved are referred to the various PPP Homes from Mater Dei Hospital and Karen Grech Hospital after they would have received and completed their acute or rehabilitative treatment.

The elderly persons are chosen to have their long-term care needs catered for at a PPP home according to the degree of dependency after discussion with their carers and relatives.

Government currently has 370 beds in six private homes. Last year, government paid €2,826,627 for beds owned in Casa Arkati, Villa Messina, Rose Ville, Central Home and Casa Serena.

The amount paid did not include the fee taken form the elderly persons’ pension, Health Minister Joe Cassar said yesterday in Parliament.

Elderly Care director Stephanie Xuereb told MaltaToday that 60% of the pension is collected by the Director of Social Security, while the elderly are always left with a minimum of €1,470 per year.

“The contribution is not paid to the PPP Home as the Department for Elderly is invoiced for PPP beds,” she said.

Cassar said that elderly persons have to wait for a vacant bed until they can be admitted in a care home.

“Since I don’t have the faculty to know when a person is going to die, I cannot give a specific date,” Cassar told Labour MP Noel Farrugia.  “When I first became a doctor, I remember an elderly person would die practically every day. Today, the health service has improved to the point where sometimes two or three weeks have to pass before a resident dies.”

Cassar said that while this is extremely positive, the death rate has decreased meaning that more persons would need a home.

“It is not a question of how much government builds homes. We can build homes but it would be useless if we do not have the professionals to run it.  One needs to see everything in a contest and remember what resources you have to see what you can and cannot do.”

He added that government has sought other measures to address this problem, also keeping in mind that not all elderly persons would want to end up in homes. Recently, government launched a night shelter in Zejtun and Mellieha. Elderly who are capable of living on their own but are afraid to, for example, sleep alone, would visit the shelters for the night and sleep there, wake up in the morning, have their breakfast and go back to their homes during the day.

The minister also revealed that all 211 beds in Karen Grech are at full occupancy. “They are not all elderly patients as Karen Grech Hospital also receives patients who are undergoing rehabilitation,” he said.

It would be commandable if a break down of the expenses is given and we could see how many of Zaren's Vassallo homes, which cater for the rich, did recieve in govr. subsidies.
Very small amount compared to other spending out there. The elderly need to b e cared for properly. Another way of payng for the cost is to put these old people's homes in escrow and when they pass away the government could collect the cost it spend and not have the money go to their greedy relatives who did away with their responsiblities. I think this would be only fair. I hear not one but many stories of how relatives have their parent or other loved onces turn their houses over to them and then they place them in old people's home.