More than 6,000 people approved for funded home care have had to be put on a waiting list due to lack of care, it was revealed yesterday.
It comes amid reports that the ban on recruiting nurses from non-EU countries could be lifted.
Around 44,000 hours of home care are lost every week due to staff shortages.
The HSE said that while there may be delays between the approval of funding and the availability of carers to begin providing home support hours in certain regions, significant work is being done to address these challenges.
In 2022, the goal was to provide 24.26 million hours of home care.
Preliminary activity data, reflecting the period through the end of August, showed 14,250,532 hours of home care were provided to 56,350 people nationwide.
As of the same date, there were 6,035 people who had been approved for home support but were awaiting assignment of a caregiver, according to a response to a parliamentary question to Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould.
The HSE said it is aware of increasing capacity issues in both the direct and indirect delivery of services.
“The HSE continues to advertise for Health Care Assistants (HCSAs) and is recruiting as many suitable candidates as possible,” said Sandra Broderick of HSE Community Services for the Elderly.
“Recruitment is usually done at a local level and continues across the HSE to ensure caregiver availability.
“At the end of July there were 5,289 HCSAs employed across the HSE. In terms of home care hours not delivered due to staff shortages in 2022, approximately 44,000 hours per week are not delivered nationwide.
“This is based on waitlist levels for approved clients awaiting a caregiver to be referred at the end of August 2022 (6,035) and taking into account the average number of home assistance hours per client per week.
“While there may be delays in certain regions between the approval of funding and the availability of caregivers to begin providing home support hours, significant efforts are being made to address these challenges. This includes the establishment of the interdepartmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group, led by the Department of Health, to work with key stakeholders (including HSE) to examine issues of hiring, retention, skills development, pay and conditions, and sustainable employment from home employees accompany you into the future.”
She added: “A joint program of work between the Department of Health and HSE to design and develop the new statutory Home Support Scheme and Regulation is underway, with the Department of Health leading a detailed process to determine the future model of service delivery in Ireland to reform how we meet the care needs of eligible adults.
“The development of a new statutory system will be an important step in ensuring that the system works in a consistent and fair manner for everyone who needs home support services.”
A recent report by the Advisory Group found that thousands of carers are not being paid the national living wage and many privately hired workers to whom HSE has outsourced services are having to fund their own travel expenses between clients. It called for a payment of at least 12.50 euros per hour for nurses.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/over-6000-approved-for-home-care-wait-for-service-due-to-carer-shortage-42159602.html Over 6,000 people licensed to provide home care are awaiting service due to caregiver shortages