Vulnerable older people denied Home-Help due to inadequate funding 

The average weekly cost for home-support services is €160. This is a fraction of the weekly cost of the average nursing home which is over €1,000 per week.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has today demanded that the Minister for Health urgently deal with the ongoing crisis in older person’s services as the annual funding allocation for home-help hours has already run out and over 6,000 older people are on waiting lists for home-support services nationally. “It is absolutely shocking that just over half-way through the year that funding for such a basic service could effectively run out when so many people are waiting for services. Many older people need only a minimum amount of day-to-day support that will allow them to live independently. “In failing to properly fund these services the government is essentially telling older people that they simply do not care about their needs. A case has been recently brought to my attention where an 80 year old person suffering with Alzheimer’s was approved for home help, but told there was no funding available. “Home help support is vital in enabling older people to live independently in their own communities, rather than having to go into a nursing home. Enabling older people to remain at home serves older people best and is also a much more cost effective way for providing services. The government need to make good on their commitment to introduce a statutory entitlement to home-care as soon as possible, but in the meantime they should ensure the existing services are adequately funded.” Figures obtained by Deputy Shortall from the HSE underscore the cost effectiveness of providing care at home for older people. “The average weekly cost for home-support services is €160. This is a fraction of the weekly cost of the average nursing home which is over €1,000 per week. Additionally, many older people remain in hospital longer than they need as no home supports are available. An acute hospital bed can cost the HSE approximately €6,000 per week and adds to waiting lists as people cannot return home. It is a complete failure of planning and a waste of resources.” “Yet again, this is an example of the health services operating a model of care which is unnecessarily expensive while community services are starved of essential funding.” ENDS 3 July