Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, will tomorrow bring forward his proposals to end the crisis in homecare.
As of July, there were 5,312 older people on waiting lists for a homecare assistant, an increase of more than 10% since January, while almost 10% of all older people approved for home support have no carer.
These failures are pushing older people into hospitals and nursing homes when they should be cared for in their own home.
Teachta Cullinane said:
”Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are failing older people and their families. There is now a crisis in homecare, which has been brewing for many years.
”Tomorrow, Sinn Féin will present a plan to the Dáil today to fix this crisis.
”We want to ensure that older people, and anyone else in need of support, to stay in their own home, can be cared for in their home.
”As of July, there were more than 5,000 older people on waiting lists for a homecare assistant, an increase of more than 10% since January.
”There are no carers available to them because the government failed to plan a sufficient workforce, or to address long-term pay and conditions issues which have harmed recruitment and retention. Family carers and neighbours are left to carry the burden.
”Almost 10% of all older people approved for home support have no carer. We know of hundreds if not thousands more who have funding but have only partial support, far below what they and their family need.
”The government has spent years expecting carers to pop up out of thin air. We need a proactive, strategic approach to workforce planning across health and social care.
”Homecare failures are pushing older people into hospitals and nursing homes when they should be cared for in their own home.
”There are on average five vacancies in every nursing home because of the lack of qualified carers and health care assistants.
”The lack of community care alternatives has left more than 7,000 people delayed in a hospital, including more than 1,000 people who could have gone home earlier if they had a carer.
”The HSE has said that people can expect 24-hour waits in emergency departments this winter.
”Delivering proper homecare would reduce the length of hospital stays, reduce the risk of hospitalisation, reduce pressures on our emergency departments and reduce delayed discharges.
”It is time to ensure that older people can be cared for in their homes.
”We need a pay agreement for the sector, and the government needs to make this happen.
”The government must advance vital regulation for the homecare sector and should make this legislation a priority. It must establish the promised Commission on Care to kickstart modernise social care arrangements.
”Our communities need much greater public investment in the homecare sector in the years ahead, including a proper career pathway for carers with advanced skill sets, and a greater role for nurses and other health and social care professionals in delivering care in the home.
”Homecare is a central part of wider and necessary primary and community care reforms, and Sinn Féin has a plan to fix it.”
Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.