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Homecare for the elderly a 'priority' in wake of Brendan Courtney documentary

The Department of Health has made the commitment in the wake of the broadcast of an RTÉ documentary on the subject.

courtney Source: RTÉ Player/We Need To Talk About Dad

THE DEPARTMENT OF Health has committed to a ‘public consultation’ on the issue of home care for the elderly.

In the wake of a powerful documentary broadcast on RTÉ on Monday evening, the Department says the consultation process has been launched “with a view to establishing a new statutory homecare scheme”.

The documentary, We Need To Talk About Dad, details the issues facing RTÉ presenter Brendan Courtney in caring for his father after he suffered a stroke.

“My priority is to ensure that our older people get the best care possible,” Minister of State for Older People Helen McEntee said in a statement announcing the beginning of the consultation period.

For many that care can be provided in their own homes, surrounded by the people and communities that they love.
Unfortunately, as a country, the only statutory scheme we have in place at present to care for our elderly is the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, a Fair Deal. I am determined to change this and to establish a new statutory homecare scheme.

The consultation is expected to begin in the coming months and will “allow for all those who have views on this topic to have their say, including older people themselves”.

A poll released in the wake of the broadcast of the RTÉ documentary suggested that 85% of Irish people would prefer to be cared for at home in their old age.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of a charity for the elderly ALONE, said at the time that this result is reflected in other studies, but despite this, there is no legal right to home care in Ireland.

“In the Fair Deal Scheme if you are assessed for a nursing home place and deemed to qualify, the state is legally obliged to ensure you get a bed. If you are assessed for home care, it may be decided that you need eight hours a week but you will only get whatever the resources will allow which could be two hours a week,” he said.

Ireland’s elderly population is set to climb to 1.4 million over the next 30 years, and is expected to put a consequent strain on the country’s health services.which would not only put a great strain on our health services, but call for a greater number of services for caring for the elderly.

Read: Warning issued over dangerous new drug in Cork

Read: Father in his 50s out walking with daughter dies after being struck by car in west Dublin

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