Deputy Eugene Murphy has highlighted the case of ‘Mary’, an 83-year-old woman from County Roscommon who is still awaiting a home care package following the death of her daughter in recent weeks.
“Mary tragically lost her eldest daughter in recent weeks. Mary is elderly and has very significant mobility issues, as well as dementia. She cannot be left unattended.
“Mary’s elder daughter was her carer at the weekends while the younger daughter cares for her during the week, and has done so for the last year, since the loss of Mary’s husband. The younger daughter leaves her family in a neighbouring county and travels to Roscommon to stay with her mother from Monday to Friday and then works at the weekend. She is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance and is allowed to work 15 hours and needs to do so in order to keep her job.
“The family need some home care package to help cover weekends, now that the elder daughter has passed away. They are willing to pay for private care at night-time and are just looking for some help at the weekends, but they are not optimistic about getting a home care package.
“This is simply outrageous. There is no compassion. If the family do not get some help towards care at weekends they will be left with no other option than to consider long-term care, which will ultimately end up costing the State more in the long run – so it just doesn’t make sense,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy says the curtailment of agencies in the provision of home care packages would be a multi-million euro saving move which would ultimately lead to sick and older people being able to be cared for in their own homes for as long as possible.
Deputy Murphy has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to address this “issue of national importance” prior to the forthcoming Budget as he believes the situation is fast developing into a crisis.
Deputy Murphy noted that the current agency-led care approach was leading to spiralling costs and zero contract hours for carers.
He added: “I am also currently working on a representation in County Roscommon where the family is struggling to keep their 86-year-old mother at home. Although assessments have shown her to be at high risk, she is still on a waiting list. This is absolutely outrageous and unjust. This 86-year-old woman has been on a waiting list for three months now.”