Home help cuts criticised

www.irishtimes.com – Friday, May 7, 2010

IRISH TIMES REPORTERS

Advocacy group Age Action Ireland has called for an urgent review of HSE draft guidelines which propose to severely restrict home help services.The proposals state carers will able to spend no more than 10 minutes getting older people up and dressed in the morning and 15 minutes assisting them showering. They are designed to cut down on the cost of home-help services.

Under the plan, now in draft form, the number of home help hours a patient will be entitled to will also be cut to a maximum of 7.5 a week, which can only be availed of Monday to Friday during office hours. The service would be restricted to medical card holders and home helps would be restricted to providing personal care for clients rather than also helping with house cleaning.Age Action said such reductions would see the service fall short of what was needed by older people dependend on it if they chose to remain living in their own homes. “If the service is inadequately resourced, and is then restructured to operate without sufficient funding and personnel, it will result in a service which poses a threat to the well being of the very people it sets out to protect,” spokesman Eamonn Timmins said.

Delegates attending the annual conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation in Trim yesterday condemned the move.

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