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'Older people left vulnerable through lack of inspections' - home help group

Home and Community Care Ireland says Ireland needs a “robust regulatory and inspection regime” for home helpers.

Image: linerpics via Shutterstock

A BODY REPRESENTING the home help and care sector in Ireland has said older people have been left vulnerable by the failure of the HSE to introduce an appropriate inspection regime.

Home and Community Care Ireland, which represents 25 private home care organisations in Ireland, says private home help agencies which receive HSE funding should be subject to a “robust regulatory and inspection regime”.

It said, however, that recent HSE investigations had shown serious issues around the delivery of home help services in Ireland – and claimed that vulnerable older people were being left without protection because of how poor the inspection regime was.

“The issue with a lot of home help delivery is that there is a lack of choice for the patients and as such no transparency in the way that service is delivered,” said Michael Harty, the group’s co-chairman.

The claims followed reports this morning that 80 complaints were made to the HSE last year about the standard of local home help provision.

Records published by the Irish Times revealed allegations that an elderly woman had been left in her bed for a full weekend because her helper had not shown up, and that another worker had left a bucket of urine in an older man’s bedroom.

“The lack of progress on regulation is not acceptable, and the reality is that it takes a scandal like Leas Cross or the footage of RTÉ’s creche investigation last week to prompt political action,” Harty said.

The group has called for HIQA, which already has statutory responsibility for inspecting nursing homes, to be given similar powers to inspect the provision of home help services.

Photos: Protesters march to Dáil over home help cuts

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Gavan Reilly

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