Concern over Lack of Home Care Provision in the Middle of the Crisis
Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín has expressed concern over the lack of funding or provision being made for those receiving care in their home.He stated;
“Significant provision has been made for nursing homes, and we – at Aontú – only ask that proportionate provision be made for those requiring homecare. Homecare can ensure our most vulnerable don’t need to be admitted to hospital or a Nursing Home amidst a pandemic, and it is incumbent on the government to support our sick and elderly at this time – especially when they are being forced to isolate from their loved ones”.
However, as noted by Meath Aontú Cllr Emer Tóibín, the home care sector was already in crisis prior to the outbreak of the pandemic:
“Nearly 8000 people are on waiting lists for home care packages nationwide. According to a HSE source involved in this area, not one minute of home help provision has been actioned in the last 8 months due to budgetary constraints. This is due to government decision to only make hours available to those who are in hospital at end-of-life stage. In an effort to discharge them home to their families, care packages are put in place. And this is as it should be.
However, by not providing any home help hours to new or existing applicants who live at home since June of last year, the HSE is facilitating the mindless merry-go-round of the elderly who are in need, entering the hospital system, at a cost of over €6000 a week instead of doing the sensible thing and allocating adequate hours to allow them stay in their own homes. Older people are far happier in their homes, and the service can be provided at home at a fraction of the cost to our health budget.”
Deputy Peadar Tóibín stated “Notwithstanding the €78 million financial package being given to nursing homes, there has been no provision for those receiving care in their homes. There are those on 24/7 care in their homes, and those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions who are self-isolating, are struggling to survive on a rudimentary carers allowance. Many cannot get basic provisions of equipment and resources like hand sanitizer and PPE. Due to the strain upon the healthcare systems, nurses are unable to visit and provide supports, and GPs are not seeing their patients. Due to the inadequacy of the carers allowance to meet the current crisis, those affected are having to compromise their health to afford a level of care far below their needs.
This is in addition to the complete lack of provision which predated the pandemic. There should be no disparity between those receiving care at home, and those receiving care in a home.”