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Family Carers

Calls for individual case assessments after woman (71) caring for her mother (98) left without home care

Hundreds of home care providers are to be redeployed temporarily to nursing homes and residential care facilities.

FAMILY CARERS IRELAND has warned that the redeployment of home care workers to nursing homes and residential care facilities to support staff there during the Covid-19 outbreak may leave some families without “much-needed supports”. 

FCI is urging the State to carefully consider each case before supports are removed to fill the frontline gaps caused by outbreaks of coronavirus. 

Home and Community Care Ireland, the national body for home care providers, yesterday agreed to the HSE’s request to accommodate the voluntary redeployment of 750 of home carers.

As part of measures agreed with the HSE, carers will be temporarily redeployed from caring for low dependency clients in their homes if these clients can be cared for by family members who are at home due to social isolation.

The redeployed carers will provide care for higher dependency clients in their own homes during the Covid-19 crisis as well as provide additional support to nursing homes where individual carers agree.

The HSE said it will work with home care clients to make the determination on which clients are willing to have home care temporarily suspended.

FCI says it has already come across instances where supports were withdrawn without taking into account the full implications. 

The organisation said a 71-year-old woman, who acts as a carer to her 98-year-old mother, had services withdrawn as there appeared to be wider family support available.

The mother and daughter, who are cocooning since restrictions were implemented, say members of their wider family network are frontline health care workers and cannot help with the care of their relatives.

“This highlights the need for individual assessment of a family carer and their loved one’s needs before any withdrawal of hours,” FCI said. 

“While we understand the necessity for the redeployment of homecare hours, we need to ensure this is done fairly and takes into account the needs of the entire family. Family Carers Ireland wants to reassure family carers that they are not on their own,” Catherine Cox, head of communications with FCI said.

We are here to support them and we have a network of experts, health care professionals and community response teams ready to assist them. If any family carer is struggling, they can call our freephone Careline 1800 240724. We will advocate for support on their behalf and together we’ll get through this time of great uncertainty.

FCI says it will continue to ask for the following measures to be put in place as a matter of urgency:

  • Family carers to be named and recognised as a ‘vulnerable group’ by the Public Health Emergency Committee and a guidance document for family carers to be produced. 
  • Priority testing and verification where there is a suspected case of Covid-19 within family carers’ home.
  • Contingency plans for when a family carer is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is in self-isolation. 
  • Covid-19 has forced the closure of many routine services family carers and their loved ones rely on including respite and daycare services. Efforts need to be made to provide in-home alternatives to day-care and respite services where practical.

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