A total of 85 people were waiting for funding for a Home Care Package (HCP) or home help service to kick in from the HSE, in Laois, at the end of June this year.
This is compared to zero people waiting on the service to commence in the Kildare and West Wicklow Local Health Service according to Sinn Féin TD, Brian Stanley.
The people on this waiting list have gone through the application and approving process and are waiting on the funding to come through for the service to commence.
A Home Care Package is a set of services provided by the HSE to help an older person to be cared for in their own home.
The issue for many people in Laois lies in the time period before they are approved for home help which can be dragged out for over a year in some cases.
Deputy Stanley recently said that the home help crisis in Laois is “shameful”.
“The big problem is getting them approved, the HSE drag their heels in approving and assessing them. This is where the fancy footwork comes in, the biggest problem before getting on that waiting list is proving that the person needs the service. There is no waiting list for that.
“We are talking about elderly people, people who have no family living around the corner, it is very very difficult,” he said.
Deputy Stanley added that there are elderly people with no family who are isolated and if the home helpservice does not become available in time, it is possible for the elderly person to end up in a nursing home.
“You will come across cases where an hour [of home help] a day can help them remain living independently,” he said.
Once a person is approved for home help hours, the length of time they wait for the service to begin can vary, according to the HSE.
“It is estimated that the average waiting time for funding for a Home Care Package is in the region of 3-4 weeks at present both nationally and in Co. Laois, but, as this is an average, some clients are dealt with in a significantly shorter time as a priority and others may wait longer depending on their assessed needs,” said a spokesperson from the HSE.
Brian Stanley has recently dealt with a case where the help was approved in early June and did not begin until August.
Nationally, at the end of June 2017, the number of people waiting for funding for a Home Care Package was 2,231.
The 2017 National Service Plan provides that 16,750 people will be in receipt of a Home Care Package.
People being discharged from acute hospitals, who are in a position to return home with supports, are prioritised.
On December 31, 2016, a total of 16,351 people were in receipt of a Home Care Package in Ireland.