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Crisis can result in fairer care for all if this new momentum is sustained

May 01, 2020

Never have TDs inherited so much political capital to reform health as today. Sláintecare’s overarching ambition to provide greater supports to people in the community must be delivered
by Michael Wright

Donning face masks, goggles and gowns to help people who may have Covid-19 takes courage. Redeployed from home care to hospital work, Home Instead CAREGiver Luan Costa said: “I was nervous at first, but after training I felt comfortable with PPE, it now feels like home.”

Home Instead Senior Care salutes our wonderful CAREGivers providing care to vulnerable people across Ireland. We are proud of the commitment shown by our CAREGivers to their clients.

Not only are our CAREGivers overcoming their own fears and anxieties about Covid-19, they are also reassuring and comforting their clients who are cocooning. Our clients are naturally concerned about the risk of Covid-19 transmission, yet they also recognise that home is the safest place to be.


Responding to Covid-19 has meant changes in work practices for all at Home Instead. Our Training Academy moved courses online and has delivered regular online Covid-19 training updates to our CAREGivers. Our local offices around the country have made every possible effort to keep staff safe. We launched a Live-in Care service where a CAREGiver moves in and cocoons with a client for a period of weeks. Our CAREGivers have a greater responsibility to safeguard cocooning adults who see fewer people than before.

Whilst we all navigate the Covid-19 upheaval, a new Government is slowly taking shape. Never have TDs inherited so much political capital to reform health as today. Sláintecare’s overarching ambition to provide greater supports to people in the community must be delivered.

People need to be able to move seamlessly from nursing home to home to hospital and back again, with a suitable care package for each stage of their journey. This means greater integration in funding models. Home care must become a statutory right, and new models of care allowing safe, prompt discharge from hospital developed.

Home care organisations need to provide different ways of working, upskilling our CAREGivers and taking on greater responsibility for clinical governance. This will allow provision of high-quality transitionary care or end of life care at home. This will give opportunities to create career structures for our wonderful CAREGiver team, linking pay scales with greater responsibility.

A statutory home care scheme will provide a regulator such as HIQA to enforce standards, safety and governance allowing further development in our sector.


Home care recipients must be allowed flexibility in how they utilise their care package.

Helen Rochford-Brennan, Chairperson of the European Working Group of People with Dementia told me: “I want homecare services to empower me so I can continue on doing the things that are important. I want help with the simple things that will add real quality of life. This could be cleaning cupboards or fridges or helping me put on a duvet cover, helping me write something, read with me or provide company when going for a walk.”

It makes no sense to discriminate between people over 65 and under 65 by providing a personal assistant service to one group and a home support service to another. The same rights to autonomy of service granted to people under 65 need to be applied to those over 65. If a service user entitled to home support wants to use their care for social or mentally stimulating opportunities, then so be it.

Home Instead provides relationship-based care services to HSE home support service users and private clients. Our ambition has always been to provide high-quality home care,enhancing the lives of seniors and their families.

Covid-19 has shown that home is the safest location for vulnerable adults to be. We now need a new Government to implement Sláintecare and provide an improved service direct to people’s homes.

This article was originally published in Senior Care Matters Spring 2020