September 30, 2016
“Earlier this week 17 leading NGO’s came together to brief TDs on the need for greater investment in home care as part of budget 2017.
Tanaiste, the picture they paint is of a system approaching crisis:
Take for example Moria Skelly, who cares full time for her daughter Ciara, a 21-year-old with autism and profound disabilities, with a mental age of two, who requires 24 hour care. Moira had received a mere six hours per week in home care support. In recent months these hours have been cut due to lack of funding, severing a lifeline for her mother.
Or Sinead McArdle from Louth. Who was diagnosed with MS in 2005. Due to her condition Sinead was forced to give up her job, and relies on her family for care. In the absence of home care support from the state Sinead’s husband has had to cut down his working hours and go part time to allow him enough time to care for Sinead, putting the family under financial pressure.
“We know providing home care is in the patients interest, it achieves better outcomes, and makes clear financial sense for the state”
In my own constituency office we are receiving call after call from people approved for homecare but are being told that there is no funding available for hours.
I’ve been contacted by families who are forced to leave their loved ones in hospitals because there is simply no way they can return home safely.
These are not isolated cases Tanaiste, I ask what are you and your government doing to fulfil your promise that you will facilitate those who wish to remain in their homes and communities in doing so?
These groups are dealing with our health system on a daily basis, and they believe home care must be made a priority for the health system. We need to listen to their experiences and re-orientate our health service to put a strong focus on community and social care.
We know providing home care is in the patient’s interest, it achieves better outcomes, and makes clear financial sense for the state. But to remain in their homes those in need of care must have the necessary supports to enable them to do that.
Isn’t it time that we moved to a situation where people who are in dire need of community and homecare supports are given a statutory entitlement to these – just as there is a statutory entitlement to a nursing home place? Will you commit to legislating for this?”