Leading NGOs call for additional €100 million investment in home care in Budget 2019

Posted on 10th October 2018

A group of Irelands’ leading not for profit organisations and campaigners came together today to highlight the urgent need for investment in home care services pending the introduction of a statutory home care scheme.

While the Department of Health’s plan to establish a statutory homecare scheme by 2021 is welcomed by all groups, people who require home care and their families cannot wait until then to see services improve. Pending the introduction of the statutory scheme, interim measures are urgently needed to address the home care crisis which is seeing thousands of people stuck in hospitals or forced into residential care when they could return or stay at home if appropriate care was provided.

The majority of people coping with the effects of ill health and disability want to remain living in their homes. This includes a large number of older people and people with long-term progressive illnesses, or terminal illnesses. As a society we are failing to provide these people and their carers’ with the level of support they need.

“Home care is often seen and used as a solution to the hospital crisis, but it should be seen as an integral part of long-term care in its own right,” stated a spokesperson for the group. “The difference that appropriate home care can make to a person and their family cannot be underestimated -- it can support people to live well in the community, to stay out of hospital and long-term residential care, and to remain in their own homes with their families throughout their lives. We are calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.”

Our ageing population as well as those with disabilities require a significant annual increase in home care support. The cuts to home care provision over the years have not been restored to the levels required to keep pace with the significant ageing population and the increase in the number of people with disabilities. Home Support Hours should be increased by at least 25 percent in budget 2019.

Home care is also vital in supporting Ireland’s 355,000 family carers, who provide the vast majority of care for people at home. The system relies heavily on these family carers who provide nearly €10bn worth of care every year and who need our support.

Research published by the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice in UCD, Age Action, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers in 2016 found that more than half of older people could remain in their own homes instead of going into long-term care if more home support services were available.

The report also showed that a multiple of resources are being invested in long-term care than in community-based care, despite the fact that Government policy is to support people to remain at home. Recent research by Dr Maeve D’Alton of James Connolly Hospital found that almost half of home care recipients felt they were getting insufficient home care support.

Spending on Nursing Home care in 2018 will be almost 2.5 times more than spending on home care - € 962 million spent on Fair Deal as opposed to € 412 million on homecare.

This group is calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.

This call is supported by the following organisations:

  • Active Retirement Ireland
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Age Action
  • Age and Opportunity
  • Care Alliance Ireland
  • Cheshire Ireland
  • Cystic Fibrosis Ireland
  • Disability Federation of Ireland
  • Family Carers Ireland
  • Irish Association of Social Workers
  • Irish Heart Foundation
  • Irish Hospice Foundation
  • Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association
  • Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
  • MS Ireland
  • National Women’s Council of Ireland
  • Neurological Alliance of Ireland
  • Sage Advocacy
  • The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs
  • The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • Third Age

For media queries please contact Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland Tel: 086 8521611 or Sean Moynihan, Alone Tel: 086 3852388

1.'I'd prefer to stay at home but I don't have a choice': Meeting Older People's Preference for Care: Policy, but what about practice? [.pdf, 700kb]

2. The Patient Experience of Home Care Services. Maeve D’Alton, Keneilwe Malomo, Avril Beirne, Fionn Mag Uidhir, Eimear Short, Marie O’ Connor, Eamon Dolan. James Connlly Memorial University Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, Ireland.

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