A consultation process in respect of establishing a new statutory homecare scheme is to launched in a matter of months, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee has announced.
Also a review by the Health Research Board (HRB) of the way in which homecare services are funded and regulated in four other European countries, which was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2016, is to be published shortly.
Minister McEntee said, “My priority is to ensure that our older people get the best care possible. For many that care can be provided in their own homes, surrounded by the people and communities that they love. Unfortunately, as a country, the only statutory scheme we have in place at present to care for our elderly is the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, a Fair Deal. I am determined to change this and to establish a new statutory homecare scheme.
“Homecare is an increasingly important part of the supports we offer to older people, and will continue to increase in importance into the future, as our ageing population grows. It is estimated that about 20% of the over 65 population receive some form of community-based support service annually from the State. The HSE’s National Service Plan sets a target to deliver 10.57 million Home Help Hours, 16,750 Home Care Packages (HCPs) and 190 Intensive HCPs for clients with more complex needs. However, homecare is not currently regulated by the State and it is not provided on a statutory basis.
“The Department of Health is currently engaged in a detailed process, which will determine what type of home care scheme is best for Ireland, in relation to both regulation and funding. Establishing exactly what type of scheme will work is a complicated process and while the department will build on the success of Fair Deal we cannot simply copy it, or integrate homecare into it.”