14 Aug 2022

Nursing homes, homecare staff also provide ‘critical and frontline’ services - Kilkenny councillor

'These services cannot be allowed to fail', says Cllr Maria Dollard

A local councillor has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris in support of intervention for staff in non-HSE, but still ‘critical and frontline’ services, such as L'Arche and Camphill.

Green Party councillor Maria Dollard says that nursing homes, homecare, and community settings provide critical and frontline services for vulnerable people and must be valued equally to HSE services. 

“I have a real and genuine concern that as our Department of Health concentrates its considerable effort on our acute services and in particular our hospitals, vital services in the community are being left behind” says Cllr Dollard.

“I have been in touch with those in the nursing home, homecare and Community sectors: All are facing immediate challenges during the Covid-19 crisis.

"Nursing homes in the private and voluntary sectors care for 25,000 residents in Ireland and a further 17,000 people receive publicly funded homecare through the HSE Home Support Scheme. Everyone in this form of care and many in communities such as L’Arche, are vulnerable; they are our sisters, our brothers, parents and grandparents and they are being cared for by wonderful people who also need to be supported and respected by our State."

Cllr Dollard's party colleague, local TD Malcolm Noonan, agrees.

"We must make sure that these sectors are appropriately supported by the State in providing specialised and in many cases, round-the-clock care to thousands of people in our communities during this national health emergency," said Deputy Noonan.

"Both Nursing Homes Ireland and Home and Community Care Ireland have outlined very reasonable measures that require immediate implementation in order to continue to offer effective care and to contribute to a slowing down of the spread of the coronavirus in their settings.”

Cllr Dollard has asked Minister Harris for immediate financial intervention, and centralised access to important resources such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

"Service providers I have spoken to are very concerned that they cannot compete on the open market for PPE and they are not receiving any through the HSE," she says.

"Personal Protective Equipment must be used appropriately and carefully so as not to waste this valuable resource but where it is necessary it saves lives. Put simply, these services cannot be allowed to fail. If our nursing homes and homcare teams and community settings can’t cope we are going to see an overwhelm of contagion and unfortunately, deaths.”

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