Cuts force hundreds of elderly people to leave care homes

Hundreds of very elderly people are being forced to leave their care homes because of government cutbacks, Trouw reports on Thursday.

The cuts affect the elderly who need little care and are in the lowest categories. Some 28,000 of them currently live in nursing homes, Trouw says.

Funding for care has been stopped for all new cases from January this year. This has led to a reduction in the number of people moving into nursing homes and the subsequent closure of entire departments.

Forced to move

Care provider Opella in Wageningen, for example, has told 100 home residents, with an average age of 87, that they have to live elsewhere.

Ko Portengen of the care organisation Zorggroep Solis in Deventer told the paper she has had to tell 100 people they need to leave. ‘It is terrible. Most of them have lived here for years,’ Portengen said.

Nursing home association Actiz says other homes are being shut in The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Utrecht.

Less money

At the same time, insurance companies are reducing the amount of money to pay for nursing homes for the elderly who need little care. Achmea, for example, plans to stop funding care for this group within three years.

Trouw says insurers are free to do this as long as they continue to exercise their ‘duty of care’.

According to Achmea, this means people will be forced to move care homes. ‘The government’s policy means nursing homes will be surplus,’ spokeswoman Rieta van Staalduine told the paper.


‘We regret it if this means people have to move. We will continue to take care of them, even when they live at home again,’ she said.

Trouw says Achmea’s policies have lead to great unease. Nursing home residents do not die within three years and some 30% live in a nursing home for more than five years, the paper points out.

Umbrella group Actiz is calling on the government to intervene. Junior health minister Martin van Rijn is due to discuss the issue in parliament later on Thursday. The government wants friends and family to play a far greater role in taking care of the elderly.

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