Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has welcomed a report into the review by the Health Research Board into a statutory scheme to support older people to live their lives out in their own homes.
“I would very much welcome the regulation of home care for the elderly and putting it on a statutory basis. However, this is a very complex area and funding will be difficult.”
“The report reveals how similar statutory schemes, which support older people to live out their lives in their own homes, are under growing pressure in the five countries that were examined as part of the research. They have to charge more for the service than originally envisioned.”
“Regulation of the home care sector is long overdue and I would not like to give the 5,200 elderly people who are on waiting lists for a home care package false hopes that this is going to happen any time soon.”
“We need to provide certainty that people will have access to care in the home. Currently all HSE home care packages are provided free of charge, without means testing, following an initial assessment. However, only 20% of home care packages are provided by the HSE while 80% are paying privately for the service.” according to Deputy Breathnach.
“The HSE resources are stretched too far as it is and this is why there is such a long waiting list for services. While it is commendable that the report says that the needs of the older person, rather than ability to pay, is an underlying principle I don’t want the Government promising anything that can’t be delivered. The scheme will need to be affordable.”
“The Minister has said that there will be a consultation process opening up at the end of May which will last no longer than six to eight weeks”.
Breathnach is urging all those working in the sector to engage with this process and have their say as to the most effective way to move forward quickly with the proposed scheme.
“This is only the beginning of the process, and people can have their say to determine what the final statutory scheme will look like.”