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HCCI welcomes tax relief boost to help elderly stay in their homes

Nov 20, 2014

Increased relief first step to address 782 delayed discharges nationwide costing €625,600 per night

Thursday 20th November 2014: Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) has welcomed Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s announcement that tax relief to help the elderly stay in their own homes is to be increased from €50,000 to €75,000 from the new year.

The move is part of Government steps to address high levels of delayed discharges nationally – with recent figures from the HSE revealing that 782 patients around the country remain in hospital despite being cleared to leave by a senior doctor.

Almost 90% of what are known as, ‘bed blockers,’ are elderly patients over 65 who cannot leave as alternative arrangements have not been put in place.

The HSE have calculated that the nightly cost, per hospital bed, costs between €800-900. Using these figures, a conservative estimate of the cost is €625,600 per night - the equivalent of around 29,790 hours of home care services.

Commencing on the Minister’s announcement, Michael Harty, HCCI Chairman said “Home care is generally people’s first choice for care in their later years, and this measure will help to make it more affordable especially in cases where more complex care is needed.”

Mr Harty added “In these times of reduced funding and ever increasing demands on the elder care budget, the HCCI feel that home care has an important role to play in making sure we are getting the maximum benefit from our health care budget and decreasing the pressures on the Fair Deal Scheme and hospital overcrowding. Measures such as this are also important in taking steps of making sure that budgets are spent in accordance with patient wishes.”