Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Community, Senator Jerry Buttimer, today (Wednesday) welcomed the publication of the Report by the National Economic Social Forum (NESF) on the implementation of the Home Care Package Scheme, which provides home-care assistance for elderly people at risk of being admitted to long-term care.
Senator Buttimer, who is a member of the NESF, said the recommendations contained within the Report must be taken on board so that appropriate allocation of resources can be achieved.
“There is a great deal of confusion at the moment for those who are attempting to access this valuable service as there is a lack of information available and differing eligibility criteria depending on where a person lives.
“The fact that there is a broad gap between policy formation and how it’s implemented is a problem citizens are faced with on an ongoing basis. The scheme, if delivered according to national guidelines, would be extremely helpful in ensuring the elderly can be cared for at home. However this is not the case with the result that an information vacuum has been created which is leading to real confusion among the elderly, their carers and in many cases those charged with delivering the service.
“Accountability and ineffective use of time are scourges on our systems and need to be eliminated to ensure that the citizen does not pay for procedural mismanagement. This Report recommends that clearer lines of responsibility and accountability must be set so that an improved service can be delivered – something that could be applied to many Government departments.
“At the heart of every scheme should be those it serves. We must ensure that the Home Care Package Scheme is implemented properly and effectively so that it meets the needs of those who need it. At present 8,000 citizens benefit from the Scheme, which was allocated €120 million in 2008.
“The recommendations contained within the Report aim to set out clear standards for delivery and monitoring of the service. This Scheme can provide much needed nursing care, home help and/or therapeutic procedures such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy, all of which aid wellbeing. However, the most vital aspect of this service is that treatments are given in the persons own home, diminishing the need for admission to long-term care, assisting elderly people to live independently for longer and saving much needed Exchequer funds in the process.”