Sinn Féin used its Private Members’ time in Dáil Éireann this week to debate Deputy Louise O’Reilly’s bill which aims to challenge the government and the HSE’s targeting of home help hours with plans to cut or freeze the service.
Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has said that this plan would have a devastating impact on older people and their families and has urged cross-party support for the Sinn Féin bill.
Preferred Form of Care
“Care delivered in the home is the preferred form of care for most people and their families,” said Deputy Ferris.
“The home help service is one of the best value for money services in the health system, and any health economist will attest to its value for money.
Six Thousand on Waiting Lists
“This is immediately evident upon comparison with hospital or nursing home care. The average weekly cost for home support services is approximately €165, whereas the weekly cost of a hospital bed is €5,992 and the weekly cost of a nursing home bed is €1,048.
“There are currently over 6,000 older people on waiting lists for home help hours and thousands more in receipt of the service.
A Devastating Impact
“Any cuts or freezes to the service will have a devastating impact on older people and their families.
Indeed, when home care is lacking it results in a variety of negative consequences that can affect the health and well-being of older people.
Dignity and Independence Denied
“Without access to home care supports many older people have to pay for private care, rely on loved ones to provide unpaid care, or are forced to move to residential care settings which is often not their first choice thus undermining their human right to live with dignity and independence.
Won’t Go Unchallenged
“Sinn Féin will not allow this to go unchallenged and that is why we have put down this Private Members’ Bill to challenge these decisions by the government and protect the home help service.
“We understand the value of the home help service and our message to the government is to find cost savings elsewhere and stop attacking our older people and the services they need and deserve,” Deputy Ferris concluded.
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