December 15, 2021
The Government must take serious the HIQA report calling for regulation of homecare services – Violet-Anne Wynne TD

Clare Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne has called on the Government to address the recommendations of the HIQA report published yesterday.

The research report on the “Regulation of Homecare” that was published yesterday has highlighted the serious gaps in service provision that means many people are left without support in their homes.

Teachta Wynne said:

“Homecare is an essential, and increasingly in demand, service which allows people to receive health, social and personal care within their home. In line with the vision of the Sláintecare Programme to provide the ‘right care, in the right place, at the right time’,

“Our most vulnerable citizens are being left waiting and waiting for home care. Across the State, 5,000 people have been approved for home care (and in some cases additional hours) but there are no Home Carers to provide that care. 

“This is completely unacceptable. Those waiting for home care are being left in an extremely vulnerable situation. Some are left in Hospitals when they could be discharged home, others are being left in Nursing Homes, unable to get home and some are left struggling without this vital support in their own homes, while others are stuck at home unable to go about their daily lives without assistance. 

“This is adding huge stress and worry to families, at a time when there is already a significant amount of burden on families as they navigate the pandemic. 

“The report has called for a “complete overhaul” of home care services and we will need to hold the Governments feet to the fire in order for this level of reform to be taken seriously.

“It is frightening that in 2021, there is no minimum standard of care when it comes to home care services. The Government need to move with urgency to introduce regulations and oversight in this Sector. 

“I have heard first-hand accounts of Disabled People being too afraid to lodge feedback or complaints against any Homecare workers, in the fear that they will simply lose their service, which is a lifeline of support to them.

“Based on an outreach session I had with NCBI recently, they informed me that lack of adequate training means that often Homecare providers have not been trained specifically to support people with sight loss. So simple things like using words to describe the location of items are often overlooked. This is extremely unfair for both the service-user and worker. Special training as well as regulation is most definitely needed.

“The report states that the HSE says it does not have the capacity to intensively monitor Homecare workers, and instead relies on reporting from service-users. As I have mentioned this is impracticable and is passing-the-buck and putting the burden back on individuals.

“The Government also must act on the current staffing crisis and prioritise getting more staff into the system. 

“If this does not happen then we can have all of the Government announcements on additional home care hours but nobody to actually deliver them. It is a great shame that in 2021, we have Older citizens unable to go home, the place where they want to be, to live in their own home and to be cared for and supported in doing so.”

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