Butler calls for increased focus on the elderly during Coronavirus crisis

Published on: 09 March 2020

Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Older People Mary Butler TD, has called on the government to introduce measures to ensure that elderly people are kept up to date on all the latest news on the COVID 19 situation.

Deputy Butler raised the issue in the Dáil last week when TDs spoke on the Coronavirus outbreak.

“All the medical experts agree that older people will be at a higher risk from complications if they become infected with the virus. Therefore, its extremely important that they have access to the most up to date information about it. The HSE website is the best source of information, however not all older people have access to the internet”, said Deputy Butler.

“I have been contacted by some people worried that they are not getting enough information. It is imperative that through community care, public health nurses and GPs, that the correct information is being communicated to older people. This will help avoid any unnecessary panic and misinformation. As we are currently in the containment phase of this virus, clear, clinically-based information is essential.

“I met with the Chief Executive of Alone last week to discuss what could be done and I welcome the fact that the charity has launched a support line – 0818 222 024 -which will be open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday. This is being run in collaboration with the Department of Health and is in addition to the HSE’s own helpline, which is 1850 24 1850.

“I am also calling on the HSE to provide more clarity regarding isolation. There is a real concern in some schools and colleges about the current guidelines. More clarity is required on self-isolation and on whether the school has the authority to request self-isolation. If a student has been on holidays in one of the affected areas. Clear guidelines are required to prevent panic or confusion.”