MORE discussion is needed between parents and the Muiriosa Foundation regarding proposed changes to services in Mountrath Respite, according Sean Fleming TD.
Deputy Fleming along with county councillor Alan Hand met with CEO of the Muiriosa Foundation, Brendan Broderick last week to relay parents’ concerns and discuss possible solutions to changes in care at the foundation’s facility in Mountrath.
Dep Fleming told the Leinster Express that he heard at last week’s meeting, that respite services in a residential house are very expensive. “They siad that they can provide more respite care to more people if it is in peoples’ houses, using schemes such as share a break. However there are a number of people who use the facility who will always require residential care and that will continue”.
Deputy Fleming said that he was assured that everybody who gets accepted to be a carer on the Share a Break scheme is Garda vetted.
“The change in the range of services is driven by cost. Mr Broderick wants to provide more services at less cost. Some families will find this suitable and some won’t”.
Deputy Fleming said that there needs to be more discussion between Mr Broderick and parents for the proposed changes to work.
“What’s most important is that anyone who requires respite will still get it. The clients can’t speak for themselves and they need parents to talk for them. Parents do a phenomenal amount of work and they are entitled to have some break for their own health and well being,” he said.
He said that at the moment the situation was “a bit blunt and needs to be discussed more”.
“My understanding is that Mountrath Respite will stay there but with lesser numbers”.
Cllr Hand said that he was told at the meeting that “in order to achieve savings, Muiriosa Foundation will have to look at new arrangements”.
Speaking to the Leinster Express, Mr Brendan Broderick emphasied the Share a Break scheme.
“It is connecting a child with another family and promoting inclusion. It is enormously more cost effective. The immediate imperative is to try not be too badly overspent this year. We can anticipate significant cuts next year and the following year if we don’t have an alternative plan”.
“We believe that Share a Break is a better option and not primarily as a cost effective option.” He added that a number of families in Laois already use the scheme.
Mr Broderick said that the main reaction of parents is fear and panic, with some very worried and upset.
“What has impressed parents is the assurance that the people who require care in these respite centres will still get it. I believe that some who need respite delivered may get more than they are already getting.
“Parents’ genuine fear is if something is taken away, will anything be put in its place? They are nervous that the HSE will use the opportunity to save money. Most parents recognise that with the collapse in the economy there are going to be consequences in the disability sector,” he said.