We will ensure carers are cared for – Minister for Health

Irish Independent

By Rosemary O’Grady

Tuesday May 31 2011

The distressing scenes in last night’s Prime Time Investigates programme on the plight of carers hammers home the reality of a dysfunctional health service, a spokesperson for Health Minister James Reilly said today.

The new government will find a way of refocusing priorities thus ensuring carers are cared for, the spokesman said.

Families are skipping meals to keep their heads above water, the Carers Association said today in the wake of a Prime Time investigates documentary that showed 82pc of carers have been affected by cutbacks in State services.

The programme, broadcast last night, showed the terrible toll Ireland’s economic restrictions have placed on families and backed up the association’s own findings that many family carers are living in poverty and very difficult circumstances.

Calling on the Government to introduce a strategy that will allow for the long-term continuation of care giving in the home, Carers Association spokesperson Catherine Cox said that many family carers are living below the poverty line.

“Families are literally skipping meals to keep their heads above water. Viewers may be shocked by the report’s findings but the Carers Association is already aware that this kind of hardship is commonplace for many family carers,” she said.

She pointed out that it was actually cheaper to provide a strategy of financial supports, home help, respite, training for parents and aids in this way rather than through residental or hospital care.

The plight of carers on Prime Time last night showed a number of examples where people responsible for minding family members were close to breaking point due to lack of support from the HSE.

The report also found that almost a quarter of carers have suffered health problems from an overburden of work.

“We know there are more cuts to come with no regard or appreciation for the role of family carers who are providing vital and often round-the-clock care.

“These cuts are forcing carers to place their loved ones in hospital or residential care settings, costing Government more and going against stated Government policy of supporting the care of older people and those with disabilities in the home.

“Family carers have taken as much as they can. This is a call for action from our new Government.

“We simply cannot continue to ignore this burning issue and we want the immediate completion and implementation of the National Carers Strategy,” she said.

“This strategy is crucial for the long term continuation of care in the home, putting in place practical supports and services for family carers including in-home respite, needs assessment for family carers, financial and emotional support and timely information provision,” Ms Cox added.

Elderly in limbo over care-home cash crisis

By Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent

Irish Independent Thursday May 26 2011

Older people who are due to enter nursing homes remain stuck in limbo due to the cash crisis that has stalled the Fair Deal scheme.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed yesterday that it was still not in a position to grant approval for financial assistance under the scheme to those who qualified for financial support with the cost of a nursing home place.

Approvals halted on May 13 and cannot resume until the funding difficulties which have led to the crisis are resolved.

The €1bn allocated to the Fair Deal scheme for nursing home care in 2011 is only sufficient to cater for the numbers already in nursing homes.

Older people who want to go into a nursing home will have to wait until an existing resident dies to free up a place.


Those in need of emergency care are being placed in beds in acute hospitals or in respite facilities.

The HSE spokeswoman said the 22,000 people already in nursing homes under various arrangements were not affected and their care would continue as normal.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dail yesterday that the report on the funding for the Fair Deal scheme would not be available for a fortnight.

He said that Health Minister Dr James Reilly had told the house that at least €100m of the €1bn funding allocated for nursing home care in 2011 had been used for occupational and physiotherapy and drugs for some of the older residents.

However, the understanding was this funding would only be directed to provide financial subsidies to people who wanted support paying their fees.

He said while the investigation into the funding was under way, “applications are being accepted and processed, but the reality is that this is a budget-capped scheme”.

Both he and the minister want to see the Fair Deal scheme continue. The HSE has sought clarity from the minister on where the €100m will come from.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams told the Dail that the crisis in the Fair Deal scheme was having a distressing impact on the elderly and their families.

– Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent

Irish Independent

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AutoExpress Best Cars for Motability http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/best-cars/motability/86821/best-small-cars-for-motability

Carbuyer Recommended Cars for Motability http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/recommended/best-motability-cars

Which Motability Car Top Ten Motability Cars http://www.whichmobilitycar.co.uk/which-mobility-car-top-10/

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Citroen Z4 Grand Picasso http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/citroen/c4-picasso/mpv/review
Tips for Choosing a Vehicle for an Older or Disabled Driver

Consumer Reports Best Cars for Older Drivers

Edmunds.com Smarter Cars and Fit Evaluation http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/smart-car-features-can-help-older-drivers-stay-safe.html

American Auto Association Smart Features for Older Drivers http://dev.seniordriving.aaa.com/maintain-mobility-independence/car-buying-maintenance-assistive-accessories/find-right-vehicle-you

Motability Choosing a Car for You http://www.motability.co.uk/cars-and-wavs/important-things/cars-suitability

RICA Consumer Research for Older and Disabled Drivers http://www.rica.org.uk/

Edmunds.com 5 Questions to Consider When Choosing a Mobility Conversion Vehicle
Alternatives if a Person is Unable or Unwilling to Drive a Car

Citizen’s Information Free travel for older persons in Ireland http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/social_welfare_payments/extra_social_welfare_benefits/free_travel.html

Ireland Department of Social Protection How to apply for Free Travel

Citizen’s Information Transport and Disability

Gov.uk Older Person’s Bus Pass
Transport Scotland Concessionary Travel for Persons 60+ or Disabled

Welsh Government Concessionary Travel http://gov.wales/topics/transport/public/concessionary/?lang=en

Northern Ireland Direct Free Bus Travel and Concessions http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/free-bus-travel-and-concessions

Community Transport Association UK Advice and Information

National Rail Disabled Person’s Railcard

National Rail Senior Railcard

Northern Ireland Community Transport Services

Community Transport Association UK Transport Services