On September 27th, a grouping of Ireland’s leading not-for-profit organisations and campaigners came together to call for increased investment in home care. Carers Shirley Thornton and Moira Skelly outlined to an audience in Buswells Hotel how the cutting of home care and home respite hours had negatively impacted their lives; and Sinead McArdle from Ardee, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and whose husband now works part-time in order to spend more time caring for her, spoke of how a few hours of home help would make a world of difference, as she can experience extreme fatigue.
The meeting highlighted a recent study published by the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice in UCD, Age Action, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers which found that more than half of older people could remain in their own homes instead of going into long-term care if more home support services were available.
On November 10th, speaking before the Oireachtas Health Committee, Minister for Health Simon Harris for the first time raised the possibility of a statutory entitlement to home care, noting that this could only be accomplished with contributions from recipients, in the manner of the Fair Deal Scheme for residential care.
Shirley Thornton, who returned from the UK a number of years ago to care for her parents, was subsequently interviewed by TheJournal.ie about how reductions in home care hours had affected her home life (video).