Some Donegal Residents Waiting over a Year for Home Care Support as over 200 People Remain on Waiting Lists
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has hit out at the Government and HSE over the lengthy delays being faced by older people across Donegal waiting to access Homecare packages.
The Donegal TD’s comments come as it’s been revealed today (Friday) that those requiring homecare are facing waits of up to and over a year to access the service.
It has also been confirmed that there are currently 225 people aged 65 and over on Homecare Support waiting lists across the county.
Teachta Doherty said:
“The HSE Home Support Service aims to support older people by allowing them to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, while also supporting their primary and informal carers.
“Homecare packages are therefore very much patient focused and are tailored to meet care needs and the everyday living needs of the service user. This may include assisting them to get in and out of bed, dressing and undressing, as well as a person’s personal care and hygiene needs.
“While these packages are provided by either the HSE or by a HSE approved external provider, the service is under huge pressures and is struggling to meet demand in the county.
“Under this Fine Gael-led government, and supported by Fianna Fáil, the levels of funding reserved to finance homecare packages has been grossly inadequate.
“One only has to look at the cuts to the service between 2011 and 2012 when the number of homecare hours was reduced by 1.5 million, or just over 10 per cent, across the state.
“The consequences of those cuts are still being felt and this can clearly be seen in the increase over recent months in the numbers of older persons on waiting lists here.
“In May 2018 there were 179 people across Donegal waiting to receive homecare packages, that number has now climbed to 225.
“More worrying however is the fact that the HSE has confirmed to me today that 14 people have been on the list for between nine and twelve months, while a further four people have been waiting to access homecare service here for a year or longer.
“This is simply unacceptable and this situation is preventing our elderly from living in their homes and having their care needs met.
“The unavailability of services is also having major repercussions across other areas of the health service, particularly on acute services where delays in providing home care packages to patients who have been deemed medically fit to leave hospital, is resulting in delayed discharges from under pressure facilities such as Letterkenny University Hospital.
“The state has a duty and a moral responsibility to ensure that the care needs of our older citizens are met, yet these delays mean that the Government and the HSE are failing in that regard while many of our elderly are not being afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.
“I will later today be raising the issue of Homecare Support services with HSE management at a meeting of the Donegal Oireachtas HSE Forum scheduled for later today where I will be asking what measures are being taken by authorities to urgently address these failings in what is a vital service.”