Current lack of a national, fit-for-purpose tool to assess home care needs in Ireland ‘must change’
The Government should now chart a path to ensuring high-quality, accessible, and safe home care in Ireland, with equitable access for all citizens, according to a Global Coalition of Aging (GCOA) roundtable report.
The Safest Place to Age: Mapping the Path to Statutory Home Care in Ireland, launched yesterday, is the output of the discussion of an expert roundtable in June 2021, which brought together Irish and global experts in health, economics, policymaking and advocacy.
Roundtable insights focus on three central themes: equity and the right to Statutory Home Care, home care standards to ensure quality, and person-centred, integrated home care, with participants agreeing nine key recommendations for the Irish Government across the themes.
“There is ample evidence that Irish people want to live and be cared for at home for as long as possible. There is no statutory entitlement providing a right to government-funded home care. People do not have a legal right to home care, or to choose the type of care they receive, or the provider of their care,” says Melissa Gong Mitchell, Executive Director of the GCOA.
“With a commitment to delivering Statutory Home Care included in the Programme for Government, the time and opportunity are now to chart a path to ensuring high-quality, accessible, and safe home care in Ireland, with equitable access for all citizens, regardless of geographical location, age, or financial status, as outlined in the three key themes identified by the roundtable participants,” Ms Gong Mitchell adds.
Theme 1 suggested: A common, evidence-based and needs-based assessment tool will ensure that citizens can receive the right care at the right time in the right place, and that they are empowered to live meaningful and autonomous lives in their homes and communities for longer than would otherwise be.
Theme 2 found: A robust and properly balanced regulation of all providers is necessary to ensure standards of care are set, pursued, and achieved. Constantly strengthening home care safety and quality standards which place the individual at the centre of the care model are vital to ensure that care is coordinated across home care providers, health and social care services and care settings.
Theme 3 suggested: Ensuring that collaborative, personalised care planning across the course of one’s life is vital in delivering Statutory Home Care. Government must improve home care supports for family carers and put in place a funding model to help deliver person-centred, integrated home care now and in the years ahead.
“For too long, we have relied on healthcare legislation that is concentrated on acute care only, instead of having a cross spectrum, holistic approach to a person and their needs, and that can change from month to month or week to week, and we should have a system to accommodate all health and social care needs,” says roundtable participant Patricia Rickard-Clarke, Chair of Safeguarding Ireland and Deputy Chair of Sage Advocacy.
“It is very important that we develop legislation to identify, safeguard and protect the rights of vulnerable adults to be in the place where they want to be when receiving their care,” adds Ms Rickard-Clarke.
The Safest Place to Age: Mapping the Path to Statutory Home Care in Ireland report is available to download in full here.