A group of Ireland’s leading not for profit organisations and campaigners came together today [01.10.2018] to highlight the urgent need for investment in home care services pending the introduction of a statutory home care scheme.
While the Department of Health’s plan to establish a statutory home care scheme by 2021 is welcomed by all groups, people who require home care and their families cannot wait until then to see services improve. Pending the introduction of the statutory scheme, interim measures are urgently needed to address the home care crisis which is seeing thousands of people stuck in hospitals or forced into residential care when they could return or stay at home if appropriate care was provided.
The majority of people coping with the effects of ill health and disability want to remain living in their homes. This includes a large number of older people and people with long-term progressive illnesses or terminal illnesses. As a society, we are failing to provide these people and their carers with the level of support they need.
“Home care is often seen and used as a solution to the hospital crisis, but it should be seen as an integral part of long-term care in its own right,” stated a spokesperson for the group.
“The difference that appropriate home care can make to a person and their family cannot be underestimated – it can support people to live well in the community, to stay out of hospital and long-term residential care and to remain in their own homes with their families throughout their lives. We are calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.”
Our ageing population, as well as those with disabilities, require a significant annual increase in home care support. The cuts to home care provision over the years have not been restored to the levels required to keep pace with the significant ageing population and the increase in the number of people with disabilities. Home Support Hours should be increased by at least 25 percent in Budget 2019.
Home care is also vital in supporting Ireland’s 355,000 family carers who provide the vast majority of care for people at home. The system relies heavily on these family carers who provide nearly €10bn worth of care every year and who need our support.
Research published in 2016 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 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.
The report also showed that a multiple of resources are being invested in long-term care than in community-based care, despite the fact that Government policy is to support people to remain at home. Recent research by Dr Maeve D’Alton of James Connolly Hospital found that almost half of home care recipients felt they were getting insufficient home care support.
Spending on nursing home care in 2018 will be almost 2.5 times more than spending on home care – €962m spent on Fair Deal as opposed to €412m on home care.
This group is calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.
This call is supported by the following organisations:
Active Retirement Ireland
Acquired Brain Injury
Age and Opportunity
Care Alliance Ireland
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland
Disability Federation of Ireland
Family Carers Ireland
Irish Association of Social Workers
Irish Heart Foundation
Irish Hospice Foundation
Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
National Women’s Council of Ireland
Neurological Alliance of Ireland
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland