10,000 are waiting for a nursing home place as reforms start to bite

Over 10,000 people are waiting for a place in a nursing home but according to the government, the official waiting list only has 65 people, according to a report by current affairs television show Nieuwsuur.

The programme, which will be broadcast on Monday night, looks at the maze of rules and requirements for nursing home care following the government’s decision to encourage more people to stay in their own homes.

People are only admitted to a nursing home if they are deemed to be sufficiently ill or infirm. Once they have been certified as in need of care, work can begin on finding them somewhere to live.


The government says the 10,333 people currently waiting for a home are on the list because they want to move to a specific facility. These patients are not categorised by the health ministry as actively in need of care.

However, Nieuwsuur says, patients are not often aware of this and do not understand that if they request a specific care home, they are no longer considered a top priority. In addition, everyone who requests care is asked if they have a preference and most people do have one.

‘This means a lot of people are missing out,’ healthcare legal expert Tessa van den Ende told the programme. ‘These are people we think need care and are entitled to care but who are left to wait.’

Empty rooms

An additional problem is that many care homes are being closed because of the government’s decision to restrict residential care to people in very serious need. This means some homes have empty rooms, even though people want to move into them.

‘We have to cut 40 places by 2018,’ one care home chief told the programme’s researchers. ‘That is a quarter of our capacity.’

In total, 40% of the care providers questioned by the broadcaster said they expected they would not be able to offer accommodation to the frail elderly, even though they are entitled to care.

Some 35 nursing homes have already closed down because of the cuts and 130 others are on the closure list, Nos television said.

The government wants local councils, friends and family to do do more to help the frail elderly and handicapped live at home. Responsibility for all long-term care services is being transfered to local councils from national government next year.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation