Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the Health Minister to set aside some of the €500m announced this week in additional health spending specifically for home care packages. Over the past number of years, home help hours have been slashed and waiting lists for home care packages have increased dramatically.
Deputy Scanlon explained, “Home care packages are a central part of community health care. They allow older people, who may need assistance and support to stay in their homes rather than having to be treated in hospital or in a nursing home. Many older people want to stay at home in familiar surroundings than be forced into a residential setting. The fact that these people are being seen in their homes also frees up capacity in hospitals and other step down facilities.
“Despite the obvious benefits of the scheme, the last Government slashed home help hours and reduced the number of home care packages. This is putting immense pressure on families here in the North West and across the country.
“Without adequate investment in home care packages and home help hours, older people will be forced into already crowded acute hospitals, a significant number of which are already buckling under the pressure of an overburdened health system.
“This issue needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. If we are to show care, support and dignity to elderly people, something has to be done. I am calling on Minister Simon Harris to allocate some €500 million health funding, announced this week, to home care packages. This will ease the pressure on families and carers, and enable older people to remain in their homes, surrounded by their family and friends”.