Family Carers Ireland’s 2018 Respite Weekend will take place in Wexford from 9th – 11th March. Details are below (click on poster to enlarge), and you can now download and print the booking form. (Bookings require €50.00 deposit.)
Our Carlow Careplus Carer of the Year is Patrick Grant. Patrick cared for his wife, Teresa, for fifteen years until she sadly passed away in September this year. Patrick’s love for Teresa shone through everything he did and they did everything together. Teresa is deeply missed by Patrick and his family.
Our Cavan Careplus Carer of the Year is Paula Robinson. Paula cares full time for her 87 year old mother, Mary, who has Alzheimers and her 92 year old father, Jimmy, who is living with bowel cancer and her two children. Paula has been described by her sisters, friends and family as a positive selfless person. Paula is always smiling and has time for everybody in her life. Family and friends wanted her to know how much she is appreciated and as a ‘thank you’ for all she does.
Our Clare Careplus Carer of the Year is Helen Kelly. Helen was nominated by her daughter, Pamela, who says her mum is amazing. Helen has been caring for her son, Ross, who has special needs and also her husband, Michael, who suffered a massive stroke 12 months ago. Clare always has a smile on her face and never looks for anything for herself.
Our Cork Careplus Carer of the Year is Martin Nevin. Martin was nominated by his wife, Evie, who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Their two children, Alex (7) and Olivia (2) are also living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Martin cares for them. In Evie’s own words “Martin has taken his vows of in ‘sickness and in health’ seriously and she wants him to be recognized for the amazing person he is.
Our North Dublin Careplus Carer of the Year is Tanya Walter. Tanya, a mother of three children, cares for her mother who is a diabetic with CMT disease, an inherited condition which damages the nerves. This has progressively reduced her mobility. Tanya herself is living with CMT as are two of her three children. Tanya provides loving care to her family and is truly a strong, resilient woman.
Our South Dublin Careplus Carer of the Year is Eileen Connors. Eileen cares for her grand-daughter, Casey, aged 5 who was born with Epidermalosa Bulossa – a rare skin disease which involves very high level of care each day. Eileen lovingly cares for Casey and her nominators say she is an amazing lady.
Our Donegal Careplus Carer of the Year is Kathleen McBride. Kathleen cares for her son Martin who lives with Down Syndrome. He also had open heart surgery and a stroke. Kathleen is a lovely lady who looks after her son with pride. Her nominations say she is a great friend and is always there to help other carers and listen with an open heart.
Our Galway Careplus Carer of the Year is Claire Brennan. Claire looks after her husband who has a rare genetic disease and has had several strokes. She has been looking after him for over 30 years. Claire herself has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma but only worries about her husband. Nominations says Claire is a very selfless person and deserves to be recognised for all that she does for her husband and others.
Our Kerry Careplus Carer of the Year is Liz Forde. Liz is the mother of seven children and three of her children are living with disabilities. Her daughter Ellie has Asperger’s syndrome. Gwen has hypomobility syndrome and requires 24/7 care. Cillian is living with brain damage, is peg fed and has epilepsy dystonia and sleep apnea. Cillian’s condition is life limiting which is tough for the family. Liz’s nominations say she always makes the most of every day and is an amazing woman.
Our Kildare Careplus Carer of the Year is Emer Moore. Emer looks after her three children who are 16, 10 & 5. Her 16 year old son has cerebal palsy and also suffers with epilepsy. Her 10 year daughter and 5 year old son have juvenile arthritis. Claire’s nominations say she never complains and cares for her 3 children lovingly.
Our Kilkenny Careplus Carer of the Year is Lisa O’ Shea. Lisa looks after her daughter Jodie who is 13. As a result of complications at birth, Jodie is living with severe developmental delay. Lisa is an inspiration to everyone in how she has coped. She is such an amazing person and deserves recognition for the care she provides to Jodie.
Our Laois Careplus Carer of the Year is Pauline Gill. Pauline cares for her foster daughter, Lorna, with a disability. Pauline is a very warm person & always sees the ability and not the disability & deserves to recognised for her dedication & care that she provides to her daughter.
Our Leitrim Careplus Carer of the Year is Mary Doherty. Mary looks after her daughter Niamh who is living with Down Syndrome and has recently been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Mary has had to give up employment & her whole time now revolves around caring, worrying and protecting Niamh. Mary’s nominators are humbled by her and really appreciate what she does.
Our Limerick Careplus Carer of the Year is Jessica Bennett. Jessica cares for her 3 children who all have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD & anxiety disorders. Last year the stress took its toll & Jessica was hospitalised twice with suspected strokes. However, this does not stop Jessica from continuing to provide the best care a mother and carer could give.
Our Longford Careplus Carer of the Year is Michael Reilly. Michael provides full-time, 24/7 care for his wife Mary who lives with MS. Michael carries out all the tasks required to keep Mary comfortable at home including housework, preparing meals and feeding. His nominators say he is a very kind and caring person.
Our Louth Careplus Carer of the Year is Dianne Arthur. Dianne looks after her daughter Kim & has been caring since 2013. Kim has a rare genetic condition. She could dislocate her joints up to 20 times a day & cannot be left alone. Dianne takes her daughter to London every 12 weeks for treatment. She never complains & has put her life on hold to care for her daughter.
Our Mayo Careplus Carer of the Year is Marie Gill O’Neill. Marie looks after her son Lucas who lives with Down Syndrome. Lucas requires round the clock care. Marie’s love, devotion and dedication to Lucas is exemplary and inspirational. She is truly an amazing woman.
Our Meath Careplus Carer of the Year is Albert Smith. Albert has cared for his wife Olive for a number of years. He was diagnosed with cancer himself but still continues to care lovingly for his wife. He is the definition of a true gentleman, always upbeat.
Our Monaghan Careplus Carer of the Year is Gerard McKenna. Gerard cares for his mother Rose, who continues to live at home with Gerard’s support. Gerard is also running the family farm while taking care of his mother.
Our Offaly Careplus Carer of the Year is Nancy Nestor. Nancy is caring for her husband Michael for over 20 years. Nancy has carried out her caring role in a low key way for many years and has never sought any recognition for the care that she provides.
Our Roscommon Careplus Carer of the Year is Mary Moore. Mary looks after her daughter 24/7 with very little help from morning until night. Mary has looked after her daughter for the past 42 years. She has been nominated by her husband William who says she is an “amazing woman.”
Our Sligo Careplus Carer of the Year is Mary Rooney. Mary cares for her son Paul who has Down Syndrome as well as a severe intellectual disability. Mary also cares for her 96 year mother who has dementia. Mary is always cheerful, kind & sympathetic to everyone despite the enormous burden of her caring duties.
Our Tipperary Careplus Carer of the Year is Rose Fitzgerald. Rose cares for her husband who is living with throat cancer. Rose has given up employment to care for her husband & also looks after their twin boys aged 12.
Our Waterford Careplus Carer of the Year is Jimmy O’Keeffe. Jimmy has been providing care to his friend Susan for the past 4 years. Susan is a double amputee and also has Spina Bifida. Jimmy ensures that Susan gets to all her health appointments and is always there to provide care to Susan.
Our Westmeath Careplus Carer of the Year is Geraldine Hayes. Geraldine cares for her daughter Chloe Marie who is 8 years old and has juvenile Huntington’s Disease. Chloe requires 24 hour care and Geraldine’s nominations say she is one in a million, a rare pearl and the most kind hearted loving mum.
Our Wexford Careplus Carer of the Year is Fiona Kelly Campbell. Fiona cares for her three children – Jay, Sam and Daniel – 2 of whom were born prematurely. her youngest son has special needs. Her oldest daughter was also born with a chronic illness. All three require frequent visits to hospital. Fiona was very close to her dad who sadly passed away last year. She is now looking after her mum as well. lost her Dad in the past year whom she was very close to and is now also looking after her Mum.
Family Carers Ireland is very concerned about today’s media reports [16/11/17] on a new Government-backed home care scheme and flatly reject Governments initial plans for same.
“A new Statutory Home Care Scheme cannot be an excuse for charging for the existing, poor quality services on offer. Families could not, and would not, consider paying for such inadequate service provision. Family Carers Ireland has lobbied for many years for a statutory entitlement to home care, but what this cannot mean is a right for Government to simply charge for the current system of home care which is inequitable, inconsistent, fragmented and insufficient” said Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement, Family Carers Ireland. “We are happy to explore the different funding options for homecare, including co-payment, but only after it has been agreed what a new home care system will look like and the range of supports and services that it would and should include” says Ms. Cox.
There were 2,600 responses to Government’s recent public consultation on the creation of a statutory Home Care Scheme.
Family Carers Ireland made a submission. Key points from this submission include:
- Family Carers Ireland is very concerned that the consultation invites comments on only one funding option, co-payment. It does not present the range of alternative models available, such as taxation, social insurance and private insurance. They also emphasise inadequate service provision and the lack of quality home care services across the country as a key issue which must be addressed and properly regulated.
- The consultation has an inappropriately narrow definition of homecare. It places an emphasis on care for older people instead of broadening this out to all people requiring care; older people, adults and children.
- The consultation also separates critical primary care functions such as physiotherapy and respite into packages of home support. This is too narrow and a suite of core services must be considered, including respite provision, housing adaptation grants, equipment required for safe care in the home, rather than simply extending existing home help and home care package hours.
The public consultation was announced as “a formal home care scheme for older people”. This is too limiting. What about people with disabilities and life-limiting conditions who also require long-term care from a statutory scheme? Any statutory Home Care Scheme must be available to all potential users of home care, and not limited to older people.
Family Carers Ireland launched its ‘Share the Care’ campaign last year and is very concerned that there is a complete absence of any reference in the consultation to a statutory definition of where the ultimate responsibility for care should lie. Family Carers Ireland supports a system which locates primary responsibility with the family, with a secondary duty on the state to support care in specific ways and to act as a last resort where the family is unwilling, or unable, to provide the required care.
Another question raised today is whether carers in receipt of Carers Allowance will be penalised when the new scheme is implemented. This cannot happen under any circumstances. The new scheme should be implemented to support family carers, not penalise them.
The Health Research Board has mentioned Scotland as a model of best practice. Family Carers Ireland would say there are other countries which could be looked at, such as Australia. Ireland does not have to copy anyone but rather take the best practices from different countries and put these into a new framework that would work best for Ireland.
While Family Carers Ireland welcomes the need for a statutory requirement, we do not want this to damage, rather than enhance, the situation for those who provide care in the home. Today’s reports suggests looking at the ‘take’ before the ‘give’. We want to bring about a system that helps ease the current crisis, rather than exacerbate it” said Catherine Cox.
- A serious lack of respite care, vital to give family carers a much-needed break to continue their caring work. Due to funding cuts, staff shortages and bed closures because of HIQA inspections, respite has become almost non-existent – a serious issue for family carers.
- Family carers should be considered as partners in care planning by health and social service providers. This relates to discharge planning from hospital to homecare and is simply not happening. The lived experience of family carers in this regard is very poor, with often no documented care plans or supports in place to help family carers provide care in a safe and dignified manner.
- Problems with the Housing Adaptation Grant scheme persist around the country – despite an older population increase of 36 per cent since 2006. Eligibility for the scheme has been tightened to the point where those in genuine need are not eligible. While funding is slowly being restored and currently stands at €56m, it is still significantly below the funding level paid in 2010 of €95m. Long waiting lists are seen in many Local Authorities and timeliness is a huge issue, as needs may significantly deteriorate while an applicant is waiting.
- On a more positive note, Government have expressed a willingness and ambition to tackle the issue of financing home and community care. This is evidenced by the terms of reference of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare and by the announcement of a public consultation to establish a new statutory homecare scheme.
- Equally positive has been the improving level of engagement from Government departments with family carers over the lifetime of the Strategy.
One in 20 in Ireland is a family carer, this will be one in five by 2030 and Health System inadequate
[11/7/17] Family Carers Ireland is presenting its Pre-Budget Submission 2018 (PDF) to Government today in Dublin. The Submission is titled “Budget 2018: Share the Care” to highlight that care must be a shared responsibility between the state, community and wider family and not left solely to family carers struggling with insufficient supports.
One in twenty people in Ireland today is a family carer, collectively providing â‚¬10 billion in unpaid care each year. By 2030, demographic changes will require one in five to take on a caring role. Family carers are plugging the holes in an inadequate health system, often at a high personal cost financially, physically and emotionally.
Family Carers Ireland is asking Government to support family carers in Budget 2018, a group who save the state billions of euro.
Speaking at today’s launch, Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland said, “Throughout our 22 resource centres across Ireland, it is clear that family carers are under-supported and find it very difficult to access vital services, such as respite care to give them a much-needed break. This is not something new but with home help hours cut significantly over the last number of years combined with an increase in the number of people requiring care, it is a seriously growing problem.
The responsibility for caring is not being balanced appropriately between family, community and the state. This is the theme of our year-long ‘Share the Care’ campaign. The present reality is that family carers prop up the health system and are expected to fill the gaps in resources in the system regardless of the detrimental costs to their physical and mental health.”
In today’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 Family Carers Ireland is calling on Government to make three firm commitments to “share the care”:
- Immediate investment in homecare: carers urgently need a right to homecare. For too long homecare has been underfunded, inconsistent and inequitable. Family carers can’t continue unsupported while waiting for legislation to be enacted.
- Support all carers to ensure they aren’t financially burdened by their caring role. Three quarters of family carers don’t receive the Carer’s Allowance. Priorities for Family Carers Ireland include increasing the Carer Support Grant to â‚¬2,000 and reinstating the Bereavement Grant of €850 to help with funeral costs.
- Allocate funding for a new National Carers’ Strategy (2018-2022). With more funding available, this strategy must be adequately funded to implement real supports for family carers.
Two family carers presented at today’s launch emphasising the challenges they face due to serious lack of supports and services on the ground. Dorothy Meaney, Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2017 from Limerick, cares for her daughter, Zondra (31), who has a tissue disorder adversely affecting every part of the body called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and is a wheel-chair user. One of Dorothy’s main pressures is that she and Zondra have to travel to the UK for treatment every 12 weeks at their own expense as this treatment is not available in Ireland.
Eamon O Fearghail, aged 47 from Dublin, cares full time since 2010 for his widowed mother Cathleen, aged 87, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. He wants to respect her wishes not to go into a nursing home, but finds his role difficult. At one point, he felt on the verge of a mental breakdown, he went to a psychiatric hospital. He couldn’t get support services to help him. Eamon highlighted the need for both practical and emotional support for full time carers as well as the need to support them financially throughout their caring roles.
Also attending today was family carer Johanna Powell from Wexford. Johanna cares for her daughter, Siobhan (32), who has a rare genetic condition which means she can’t walk or eat solid food and is non-verbal. Siobhan has been on a waiting list for long-term residential care since 2013.
“Our home and respite services are painfully underfunded and family carers like Dorothy and Eamon are fighting desperately for supports. While the Government’s recent launch of a consultation on a statutory right to home care is welcome and a necessity, carers and those they care for it cannot wait any longer for adequate services. The need for investment is now in Budget 2018″ said Catherine Cox.
Family Carers Ireland provides a range of supports and services for family carers through its 22 resource centres nationwide and advocates fairness for carers. The organisation is currently running its year-long “Share the Care” campaign to help family carers self-identify and seek supports. www.familycarers.ie
The Central Statistics Office has revealed today that the number of family carers in Ireland is up from 187,112 in 2011 to 195,263 in 2016. Family Carers Ireland say there is likely an additional 160,000 family carers but many don’t identify themselves as carers until in crisis.
“The CSO’s Irish Health Survey findings released last year found that 10 per cent of the population provide care, suggesting a figure closer to 360,000. Many carers do not identify themselves as carers until they are in crisis and in urgent need of support” said Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland.
Year on year family carers’ contribution to the state is increasing not only in terms of the number of family carers but also in the number of hours of care they provide. However, at a time when the state should be investing further in home care we are seeing home help, a vital support for family carers, cut by a staggering 50,000 hours nationally in January and February this year, compared to the same period in 2016.
“The coming weeks will see the launch of a much welcomed consultation on establishing a right to home care. Any future homecare scheme will require more investment and not cuts like those imposed in the earlier part of this year. The statutory consultation process could take up to two years and we need investment in supports for family carers now. We cannot afford to wait” said Catherine Cox.
“The Central Statistics Office has been very supportive of our carers self-identification campaign but we have more work to do. We have people coming to us daily who have been caring for years, but don’t see themselves as carers until they are at crisis point. We hope to work with the CSO on the next Census to include more in-depth questions to help carers self-identify at an earlier stage in their caring role. With an ageing population and an increase of 20,319 people with disabilities aged 65 and over, the demand for family carers will only continue to rise” said Catherine Cox.
Family Carers Ireland provides a range of supports and services for family carers through its 22 resource centres nationwide and advocates fairness for carers. The organisation is currently running it’s ‘Share the Care’ campaign calling for a shared responsibility for caring in Ireland.
Family Carers Ireland’s 2017 Regional Carers’ Forums will take place over the coming fortnight. These Forums offer the opportunity for staff around the country to engage with and listen to carers, and to address both regional and national issues of importance to them. Each forum will feature a discussion of the Strategic Plan for the organisation, and include a breakout session where family carers can have their say and offer feedback.
To reserve your place, please contact the contact person at your local centre, available here: https://familycarers.ie/find-us/
Tues. 9th May
Venue: Prince of Wales Hotel, Athlone
Time: 10.30am – 1pm, lunch at 1
Counties: Galway, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly
Wed. 10th May
Venue: Green Isle Hotel, Dublin
Time: 10.30am – 1pm, lunch at 1
Counties: Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan
Thurs. 11th May
Venue: Kilkenny Hotel, Kilkenny
Time: 10.30am – 1pm, lunch at 1
Counties: Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary
Tues. 16th May
Venue: Sligo Park Hotel, Sligo
Time: 10.30am – 1pm, lunch at 1
Counties: Sligo, Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim
Wed. 17th May
Venue: Pery Hotel, Limerick
Time: 10.30am – 1pm, lunch at 1
Counties: Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, North Tipp
A discussion document relating to the recently-announced public consultation on a statutory home care scheme has been produced by relevant NGOs including Family Carers Ireland. The document outlines areas which these NGOs believe any statutory home care scheme must address. The document can be read here.
Irish public believes abuse of vulnerable adults is widespread
New law and public information campaign planned to tackle problem
11 April 2017: Half of all Irish adults say they have experienced the abuse of vulnerable adults either through being abused themselves or seeing somebody close to them abused, according to the results of new research being published today.
The research, commissioned from Red C by the National Safeguarding Committee, shows widespread public concern that many vulnerable adults are open to and are experiencing physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
Among the research findings are:
- Physical abuse of vulnerable adults has been witnessed/suspected by 1 in 3 adults, very often in the home.
- Over 1 in 3 has experienced emotional abuse.
- Almost 2 in 5 (38%) think vulnerable adults are badly treated. One in three believes vulnerable adult abuse to be widespread.
- There is significant public concern about the need to safeguard those who are limited in their ability to protect themselves.
- There is a lack of clarity over where to report vulnerable adult maltreatment, particularly among the young
Adults who may be vulnerable are those who may be restricted in their capacity to guard themselves against harm or exploitation, possibly as a result of illness, dementia, mental health problems, physical disability or intellectual disability.
According to the NSC Chair Patricia Rickard Clarke: “The members of this Committee have come together with one objective in mind: To ensure that adults who may be vulnerable are safeguarded and that there is a zero tolerance of abuse. These research findings indicate a very worrying prevalence of vulnerable adult abuse, uncertainty over what constitutes psychological and financial abuse, and a lack of knowledge of what to do when you become aware of the abuse of vulnerable adults.
“These survey results will provide a baseline against which progress in developing public awareness and changing attitudes and behaviour can be measured. We are now planning a public awareness campaign on the issue of abuse of vulnerable adults, and we would urge the Government to introduce legislation which would provide for independent advocacy on behalf of vulnerable adults and a National Safeguarding Authority with a dedicated budget.”
The Minister of State at the Departments of Social Protection, Justice & Equality and Health Mr Finian McGrath said: “The research commissioned by the National Safeguarding Committee suggests a startling prevalence of abuse of vulnerable adults, as well as a lack of clarity of how and where to report such abuse when it is witnessed. Society and Government have a duty of care towards all of its citizens, particularly those who are more vulnerable. Measures to tackle this issue are not the preserve of any one Government Department. This is a cross-departmental issue and I intend to work across departments to agree measures to protect our vulnerable adults from abuse.”
Any vulnerable adult can be subject to abuse, Ms Rickard Clarke said. Recent cases of historical practices and institutional abuse in Ireland have led to significant public concern about safeguarding our most vulnerable citizens.
She said: “In addition to strengthening the legislative framework for safeguarding, the National Safeguarding Committee wants to see progress towards the establishment of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission. This will provide support to adults whose capacity for making decisions is in question. It must be given adequate resources.
“This Service is provided for in the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 which we would like to see fully commenced as soon as possible. This legislation aims to prevent exploitation of this vulnerable group of adults and to ensure that their will and preferences are respected in areas such as health, personal welfare, property and financial matters.”
The Red C Poll findings can be accessed here
The members of the Committee are:
Pat McLoughlin CEO Alzheimers Society of Ireland
Ms Susan Kent Department of Health
Ms Miriam Finnegan Department of Social Protection
Det Sgt Jennifer Molony & Inspector John Lynch An Garda Siochana
Mr Brian O’Donnell CEO National Federation of Voluntary Bodies
Mr Mark Blake Knox Not-For-Profit Organisation
Ms Joan O’Connor Policy and Research Officer, Disability Federation of Ireland
Mr Phelim Quinn CEO Health Information and Quality Authority
Mr Eamon Timmins CEO Age Action
Ms Louise O’Mahony Banking and Payment Federation Ireland
Ms Mary Keane Deputy Director General The Law Society
Ms Maureen Kavanagh CEO Active Retirement Ireland
Ms Catherine Cox Head of Communications Family Carers Ireland
Ms Siobhan Nunn HSE Principal Social Worker from Safeguarding and Protection Team
Mr Paddy Connolly CEO Inclusion Ireland
Dr David Robinson Consultant Representation RCPI
Mr Michael Fitzgerald HSE Social Care Management
Mr Pat Carey COSC
Mr Mervyn Taylor Manager SAGE
Mr Brendan O’Shea Irish College of General Practitioners
Ms Patricia Gilheaney CEO, Mental Health Commission
Ms Ann Marie O’Connor Business Manager, MABS
Mr Tom Fitzpatrick Chartered Accountants of Ireland
Ms Phil Ni Sheaghdha ICTU
Dr Cathal Morgan HSE Social Care Division
Mr Tim Hanly Manager HSE National Safeguarding Officer
Ms Marguerite Clancy HSE Senior Research and Information Officer
Dr Verena Keane Faculty of Learning Disability, College of Psychiatrists
Dr Maria Moran Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry, College of Psychiatrists
Patricia Rickard-Clarke Independent Chair
Due to large numbers of carers and groups being unable to travel tomorrow in light of strikes, Family Carers Ireland has had to cancel the scheduled National Carers Convention in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin on 25th March. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. The Convention will be rescheduled for later in the year.