Flexibility on changing care needs key to statutory scheme success
Oct 25, 2019

Pilot provides opportunity to ensure incoming model is sustainable and beneficial to all, says Michael Wright

 

Budget 2020 includes an extra one million hours of HSE home care, and a commitment to pilot statutory home care, so that home care is a statutory right, in the same way as long-term residential care.

Statutory Home Care will be implemented in 2021, according to the Department of Health’s Sláintecare Action Plan.

Minister of State for Older People Jim Daly has said details of a statutory home care scheme will be announced in January 2020 and that co-payments by home care recipients will be part of the financing.

Home Instead Senior Care endorses the Government’s call for statutory home care and welcomes the additional investment in HSE home supports.

According to Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), our industry’s representative organisation, the waiting list for HSE home care, as of end May 2019, stood at 6,819 people.

Investment

The additional one million hours of HSE home care will cut this waiting list, however without additional investment waiting lists will grow again in 2020.

The health of older people in Ireland has improved significantly over the last number of decades and as we live longer, demand for home care is projected to increase at a faster rate than budgeted Government investment.

The average HSE home care service provides one hour of care per day. Of the 6,819 people currently on the waiting list for HSE home care, 1,871 people are receiving some home care hours but require additional support. Consequently, any statutory home care scheme must have in-built flexibility to meet the changing needs of service users, as well as sufficient investment.

The HCCI’s recommendations on statutory home care advocate choice and flexibility of home care services for home care recipients. The Department of Health’s own consultation paper on home care published in 2018 showed that people want greater autonomy over their home care.

Sláintecare is piloting personalised budgets for people living with disabilities, and age shouldn’t be a barrier to service provision.

Sustainable

Statutory home care can link assessments to differential budgets, which a person then uses to avail of services from a licenced, regulated service provider. Service users choose the service provider and types of service, in consultation with a healthcare professional and consideration of clinical needs and personal circumstances.

Such flexibility means people can choose from a basket of care services, including home-based respite, or services to enhance cognition or improve mental health as well as conventional services that assist with personal care.

The upcoming statutory home care pilot is a huge opportunity for Ireland to develop a new model of sustainable home care, that gives autonomy to the service user, improves governance and standards of care, so delivering better home care for all.

Home Instead looks forward to its results and the delivery of statutory home care in 2021.

Michael Wright

Director of Public Affairs, Home Instead Senior Care

Follow Michael on Twitter - @Michael64768501

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