Family Carers Ireland are shocked and angered to hear today of a decision by the HSE to cut Home Care Packages and reduce home help hours. “We have been informed of a national directive issued by the HSE to all managers to implement these cuts as a matter of urgency” stated Catherine Cox, Head of Communications, Family Carers Ireland. If this directive is to be implemented it will be detrimental to family care in Ireland and fly directly in the face of the commitments given under the National Carers Strategy to recognise and support family carers and care in the home. These cuts come at a time when we are seeing a justifiable restoration in public sector pay on one hand while slashing vital budgets for supports to older people and people with disabilities on the other – how is this fair or reconcilable? We are calling for an immediate reversal of this directive and brutal attack on care in the home.
Home care packages and home help hours are a crucial element of caring for a loved one with high dependency in their own homes by helping family carers with difficult tasks such as dressing, showering, hoisting and feeding highly dependent loved ones. Home Care packages are particularly vital for patients who are transferring from hospital to home to be cared for by a family member ensuring that the carer has the supports that they require to care safely for their loved one and thereby prevent their re-admission to hospital. Home help hours provide family carers with a much need break from their caring roles safe in the knowledge that their loved one is being well cared for. Cuts to these services take away older people and people with disabilities choice to live in their own homes where they wish to remain for as long as is possible.
We have seen continuous cuts to these services, particularly over the last 5 years during austerity times, but now that we are moving out of the recession how can these further cuts be justified? We should be seeing increases in these vital supports and not cuts!
We are calling on the Acting Minister to halt this attack on family carers and care in the home by withdrawing the directive with immediate effect as it will only serve to place more pressure on an already heavily burdened hospital and homecare system.
Press statement 15th April 2016