Private nursing home owners faced with the cost of meeting new quality standards could be forced to close, it has been claimed.
Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) said its members spent more than 35 million euro on upgrading buildings and staffing levels over a six-month period, while commercial, energy and food bills also rose.
Tadhg Daly, NHI chief executive, said 450 voluntary and private nursing homes have forked out an average 77,872 euro each to meet the standards set by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) last year.
"It will be a number of years before a full picture of the economic impact of the HIQA standards becomes apparent," said Mr Daly.
"However it is a matter of concern in the sector that already a number of nursing homes have indicated that they will be closing as the cost of compliance with the new standards cannot be met by them."
A survey of the 450 homes revealed staff costs were up 10 per cent since 2007, accounting for 61.5 per cent of turnover, while spending on food rose by 12 per cent.
Elsewhere it found 84 per cent of residents were in the high to medium dependency category and half were aged 85 or over. Almost 38 per cent were found to have been diagnosed with dementia.
NHI raised concerns over the Government's Fair Deal scheme and differences in public nursing home costs and the price the Health Service Executive (HSE) pays the private and voluntary sector.
Mr Daly said the average fee negotiated by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) in the private nursing home sector is 831 euro per week, while the public nursing home costs are an average of 1,371 euro.
He accused the state of failing to recognise the true cost of care except in their own nursing homes and called on Health Minister Mary Harney to facilitate round-table discussions involving the NTPF, HSE, HIQA, the Department of Health and Children and NHI.