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Welcome for Older People and Domiciliary Care report-Ó Dowd

31 October, 2007

Sinn Féin MLA and chair of the Public Accounts Committee John O Dowd has welcomed the publication of the Audit Office report "Older People and Domiciliary Care"; the report examines the progress made in transforming a care system dominated in 1990s by residential and nursing home provision to one which shifts the balance in favour of domiciliary care.

Mr O Dowd said

"Older people's right to live as independently as possible must be protected and society as a whole has a duty to ensure that services are being provided to older people in a fair and equitable manner.

"This report does show an improvement in that goal, however there are still areas for improvement and concern. For example, expenditure tends to be concentrated on those individuals with high-levels of need. Indeed, the number receiving less complex services such as Home Help has fallen. This means many older people who require minor assistance are losing out, even though that minor assistance can mean a major contribution to the quality of that individuals life.

"We must also tackle social exclusion of older people. Whi le striving to ensure that as many older people as possible live independently we must ensure that they do not become socially excluded and vulnerable. A multi agency approach is required to ensure older people have proper housing, care and community involvement if society is to succeed in cooperating with older people in their care, because in all of this older people voices not only need to be heard but acted upon. To this end I welcome the targeting of resources to improve take up of direct payments which will allow older people to choose who will help them and what sort of help will be provided.

Concluding Mr O Dowd said

" I also welcome the fact that the trusts are introducing a range of preventive (e.g. Home Accident Prevention Strategy) and rehabilitation services which offer older people the chance to improve their quality of life and ability to live independently and comfortably in their own homes.

"I have no doubt the Public Accounts Committee will relish the opportunity to publish their own report on this important subject early in the new year."


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