The decision by the HSE to close the home help scheme to new entrants will trap carers in their homes and leave them unable to access a break from the 24/7 care they provide, according to local TD Denis Naughten, the Deputy adding that the announcement will “lead to a situation where families will have no choice but to admit older people to long term nursing home care”.
“While I was a member of Government I pushed for improved supports for carers and an increase in the allocations for home help hours. The decision by the HSE to effectively ban the increase in home help hours to those who require more support and suspend the allocation of home help hours altogether to new applicants is a major reversal in policy.
“We have far greater demand for home help hours in Roscommon, Galway and Mayo than anywhere else in the country, so any decision to restrict the allocation of home help hours will have a disproportionate impact on local families and older people,” Deputy Naughten remarked.
The Deputy noted that cutbacks are having a detrimental effect on the provision of a home help service.
“We have learnt that this decision is based on a recent agreement where home helps will now be paid for the time travelling to the person’s home. While this should be funded, it should not be effectively paid for by older people and carers who need this vital support. Now we are witnessing the near complete withdrawal of the home help service due to cutbacks, this is just not good enough.
“It makes absolutely no sense that an older person is forced to go into a nursing home which is costing the State €823 per week when €100 per week towards the cost of home help could keep that person in their own home.
“But this is not just about money, more importantly it is about quality of life and keeping people in their own community as long as possible,” the Deputy emphasised.