A group of Ireland’s leading not for profit organisations and campaigners, including The Irish Hospice Foundation, is coming together today to call for increased investment in home care in Budget 2017.
The majority of people coping with the effects of ill health and disability, which includes a large number of older people and people with chronic and long-term progressive illnesses, want to remain living in their own homes, and to die at home if that is their wish. As a society we are failing to provide these people with the support they need.
Home care is often seen and used as a solution to the hospital crises, but it should be seen as an integral part of long-term care in its own right.
The difference that appropriate home care can make to a family cannot be underestimated — it can support people to live well in the community, to stay out of hospital and long-term residential care, and to remain in their own homes with their families throughout their lives.
Home care is also vital in supporting Ireland’s 200,000 family carers, who provide the vast majority of care for people at home. The system relies heavily on these carers who provide nearly €4bn worth of care every year and who need our support.
Research recently published by the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice in UCD, Age Action, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers found that more than half of older people could remain in their own homes instead of going into long-term care if more home support services were available.
The report also showed that a multiple of resources are being invested in long-term care rather than in community-based care, despite the fact that Government policy is to support people to remain at home.
Our ageing population requires a significant annual increase in home care support. The cuts to home care provision over the years have not been restored to the levels required to keep pace with the significant ageing demographics. Provision needs to increase by 4% per year to merely keep pace with these pressures. Research from Care Alliance Ireland suggests an ongoing deficit of 1.6m home care hours in 2016.
This group is calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2017 so that people can remain living in their own homes for as long as possible.