Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke TD says the Government needs to focus on making additional home care packages available to older people in order to resolve the hospital overcrowding crisis.
Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after receiving new information which shows that 589 people over the age of 75 were stuck on trolleys in Naas General Hospital in 2017.
Deputy O’Rourke said, “One of the key problems in hospitals right across the country is the lack of home care supports to help older people to return to their own homes. Many older people are stuck in hospital wards and are unable to return home after receiving the all-clear from their consultants due to the delays in sanctioning home care packages. This is a serious problem which is exacerbating the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.
“The Programme for Government has a commitment to increase home care packages and home help hours, but Fine Gael have failed to set out how they are actually going about achieving this. The HSE’s Service Plan for 2017 failed to put in place any additional home help hours and this put severe pressure on families and led to increased level of overcrowding in hospitals.
“Fianna Fáil raised this in the Dáil before Christmas and highlighted the need for additional home care supports to be put in place for older people. Demand for home help hours is projected to increase by between 38% and 54% by 2030. Additional investment will be required in home help care to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and ageing population.
“There is also a problem with the processing of Home Adaptation Grants. Many older people who are ready to leave hospital are unable to do so as their home is not suitable for them to live in. Often works need to be carried out to make their home safe for them to return to, such as putting in place ramps and handrails to make the home more accessible along with bathroom changes to make them safe to use. The current delay in processing grants for these adaptation works need to be resolved.
“Fine Gael need to get to grips with the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals. It’s clear that additional home care supports are needed to help people return to their own homes. Fine Gael need to put in place a plan to achieve the rollout of additional home care packages,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.