Marked increase on older people waiting on home support

By Mary Dennehy

THE number of older people waiting for home support has been slammed, after figures emerged that more than 6,300 people are waiting nationally.

Locally in the CH07 area, which includes Dublin South West, 1,143 people were waiting for home care packages in December 2018. 

old person hand

The number of older people waiting for home support has been slammed

Figures confirmed to The Echo by the HSE show a marked increase in the CH07 area in 2018, with 953 people waiting in May, 1,082 in October and 1,143 in December. 

That's an increase of 190 people in the space of seven months. 

The HSE Home Support Service (formerly the Home Help Service and Home Care Package Scheme) aims to support older people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

Figures on the waiting lists for this service were also obtained by Social Democrats TD, Roisin Shorthall.

Commenting on the figures, the Social Democrats general election candidate for Dublin South West Carly Bailey said: “Many older people want to continue to live independently in their own homes but require a little assistance during the day to make this possible.

“As it stands, many people are being sanctioned just five hours a week help, which is just an hour a day, even if they require more support.

“Despite this, the government refuses to fund this vital service and the waiting list to access the service in the first place is continuing to rise.”

According to Ms Bailey, home packages are much more cost effective, with the average weekly cost for these supports standing at €160.

“Allowing older people to have a choice and to retain their independence and autonomy is hugely important”, Ms Bailey said.

“Home packages are also much more cost-effective.

“The average weekly cost for this service stands at €160, whereas the cost of a week’s stay in a nursing home is around €1,000.”

“To compound the issue, some older people may end up staying in hospital for longer than is medically required simply because the home support budget is so depleted." 

'Significant demand' 

The CH07 HSE area includes Dublin South West, Dublin West, Dublin South City and Kildare/West Wicklow.

When contacted by The Echo, a HSE spokesperson said: "There is a significant demand for Home Support Services in HSE Community Healthcare Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow and the Home Support Service is currently operating a waiting list.

"All applications on this waiting list are prioritised according to the care needs of the individual."

According to the spokesperson, there are currently 6,179 people in CH07 in receipt of HSE home support. 

"Over the period of May 2018 to December 2018 additional home support services were allocated to 788 persons across CHO7", the spokesperson added. 

"A further 288 applications have been approved in this time for home support packages which have  facilitated discharge of persons safely back to the community from acute services."

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