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One-fifth of Irish people have witnessed poor care for the elderly

A significant number of people have witnessed physical or emotional abuse in home care services.

Image: Shutterstock/Eduard Darchinyan

IT’S BEEN SUGGESTED that almost two-thirds of Irish people have seen examples of poor healthcare services.

A national opinion poll carried out by Red C on behalf of Hiqa has found that 63% of people in Ireland have witnessed poor provision of health and social care services.

The survey also found that 21% of people questioned had witnessed poor provision of home care services, of whom almost a quarter said they witnessed physical or emotional abuse.

It found that 47% of people witnessed poor provision in public hospitals, 21% witnessed poor provision in homecare services and 21% witnessed poor provision in nursing homes.

Of those who witnessed poor provision in nursing homes, 36% witnessed physical or emotional abuse. While for those who witnessed poor provision in home care services, 24% witnessed physical or emotional abuse.

shutterstock_558692362 Source: Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

Advocacy group Age Action said that the figures were very worrying.

It is critical that the upcoming consultation on a statutory home care scheme identifies a robust, independent, system to monitor how home care is delivered and ensure the rights of older people are protected.

No regulation

The poll also found that there was a misunderstanding that some areas of health and social care services are independently regulated or monitored.

When asked whether services were independently regulated or monitored, 83% believed that private hospitals were, 80% believed that primary care centres were, and 76% believed homecare services were.

However, none of these services are currently independently regulated or monitored.

shutterstock_90590560 Source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

Hiqa’s chief executive Phelim Quinn said “unfortunately, it is still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services”.

Many of the areas where poor provision is witnessed are currently not independently regulated.

“Only through the extension of regulation will we get the safe and effective services that the public desires and deserves.

“There is broad support for the type of health and social care that Hiqa has long supported, where the rights of vulnerable people are central to the provision of services and where there is clear accountability when something goes wrong.

“For example, we believe that now is the time to introduce safeguarding legislation to protect at-risk adults from abuse and neglect.”

The poll also found that 95% of people wanted clear accountability when provision of healthcare services fall below set standards, and 93% agreed that having independent oversight of health and social care services is important to ensure that they are safe and effective.

Red C interviewed a random sample of 1,053 adults online between 23-28 February 2017.

Read: HSE takes legal action to prevent closure of Clare hospital for the elderly

Read: Residents’ favourite foods withheld: The problems found in Ireland’s care services

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