Thursday, 18 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Home Care Packages
Enabling people with care needs to continue living independently at home for as long as possible is a priority for the Government. That is why there have been significant inroads in some of the waiting lists. I acknowledge, however, that almost 5,000 people have been assessed and are waiting for home care hours to be delivered. It is a distressing situation for anybody to be in, but I assure the Deputy that the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, with the support of the Government, is making every effort to ensure those hours are delivered and to address the recruitment need. We want to get staff in place to address those needs. That is the only thing holding back the delivery of care. The assessments have been carried out and the funding is in place. The last piece in the jigsaw is dealing with the recruitment challenge. I again assure the Deputy that the Minister of State is making every effort in that respect.
Alongside the significant increase in the level of service provision, the demand for home support and its importance as an alternative service to long-stay care has grown considerably over the years. That demand is a positive development reflecting the fact that most people want to live independently in their home. There may have been an attitude in the past whereby people were put into nursing homes at a younger age. I am glad that does not happen to anything like the same extent as it did in the past. We need to support people to be able to live at home.
The number of home support hours in communities is increasing in line with enhanced investment. It is important to note that despite capacity challenges being experienced within home support services, it is estimated that the overall service delivery has increased by 17% based on the year-by-year activity levels. Efforts are ongoing to meet the continued increase in demand for the service. In addition, as I stated, the Minister of State has committed to establishing a cross-departmental strategic workforce advisory group to facilitate the views of stakeholders and examine the workforce challenges in supported nursing homes. The purpose of the group is to establish and assess why those challenges are presenting in terms of getting the additional staff in place.