There are currently 216 people on the waiting list for Home Help services in Laois and Offaly, prompting Brian Stanley TD to call for an urgent expansion of services as demand continues to grow.
“In reply to my recent Dáil question the HSE informed me that there are currently 216 people on a waiting list for Home Help services in Laois/Offaly,” he said.
“These services are vital to prevent delayed discharges from acute hospitals, and to keep people where possible out of residential care and to continue to live independently. This allows them to stay in their own homes, which is what most elderly people want.”
Deputy Stanley said that expanding the Home Help service and providing more Home Care packages would ease the pressure for beds in Portlaoise Hospital and in public nursing homes in Abbeyleix and Mountmellick.
“I have dealt with a number of cases in recent years where the lack of Home Care services delayed the discharge of elderly people from hospital,” he continued.
“Many who are availing of Home Help services are not getting enough hours. As the demand grows the hours have to be reduced with Home Help organisers having to juggle the hours as best they can.”
The Sinn Féin TD said that in 2016 the HSE provided over 10.5 million Home Help hours yet the 2017 National Service Plan only provides for a very small increase on this figure for this year.
“This is insufficient to cater for the growing demand,” he said, adding that Home Help service provides great value for money and is much more cost effective than full time nursing home care.
“While this should not be the primary concern, given the demographics, the aging population, the existing pent up demand and with the number of elderly set to increase at a significant rate, the service needs to expand to meet future needs,” concluded Deputy Stanley.