Home help hours cut by 70,000 hours in six years

By Mary Dennehy

HOME help hours in the constituency of Dublin South West have been cut by nearly 70,000 hours in the past six years, leaving hundreds of older residents and people with disabilities struggling to live independently in their own homes.

According to HSE figures, 171,293 home help hours were provided to people living in Dublin South West in 2012.

old person hand

However, by the end of 2017, the number of hours approved had dropped significantly to 103,063.

This drop of close to 70,000 hours has been branded “deplorable” by Dublin South West TD, Sean Crowe (Sinn Fein), who argues that the challenge of an aging population in the constituency merits an increase rather than a decrease.

Speaking with The Echo this week, Deputy Crowe expressed his frustration over the cuts, which he sees the reality of everyday when visited by constituents who are struggling at home due to the non-provision of home help hours.

“It is utterly deplorable that at a time when home help is needed more than ever in Dublin South West that this Government sees it fit and appropriate to cut home help hours from a high of 171,293 in 2012 to 103,063 hours in 2017,” Deputy Crowe said.

“The demand for home help hours in Dublin South West from senior citizens and vulnerable citizens with disabilities has gone up significantly over the past number of years.

Population is getting older

“The population is getting older, which is creating challenges for primary care facilities and the local hospital.

“Every day I have people in my constituency clinics or on the phone telling me the Health Service Executive (HSE) has failed them by not delivering badly needed home help support that will enable them to live an independent life.”

Over the past six years, HSE figures record a steady decrease in the provision of home help hours in Dublin South West, which includes communities such as Tallaght, Rathfarnham, Knocklyon, Greenhills and parts of Walkinstown.

Despite a rise in recent years for this type of support, which enables older residents and people with disabilities to live independently, the HSE cut home help hours from 121,711 in 2016 to 103,063 in 2017 – a reduction of 18,648 hours.

“Behind every hour cut is a senior citizen or someone with a disability struggling to manage everyday tasks like washing themselves, cooking, making the bed, cleaning their home, or getting food and essentials from the supermarket,” Deputy Crowe said.

“In many cases they are desperately calling out for help to be told there are no support hours available.

“The situation is unfair and demoralising especially when we see some areas across the country having, quite rightly, their home help hours increased.

“Vital supports like home help hours shouldn’t be down to where you live or if you have a Government Minister in your constituency.”

He added: “Our older citizens and those with disabilities deserve to live with respect in their homes and out of a hospital or a nursing home setting.

“Home help hours are vital and play a massive part in independent living.

“Residents living in areas like Dublin South West need to see home help hours increased in line with need and not based on their address or the area where they live.”

The Echo put a number of questions to the HSE however, a reply was not received in time for print.

**These figures released by HSE note the provision of home help hours in Dublin South West since 2012. 

Year       Home help hours

2012       171,293

2013       158,967

2014       146,421

2015       135,807

2016       121,711

2017       103,063

2018       49,663 (to date)

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