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Government cutting off its nose to spite its face on home help hours – Louise O’Reilly TD

25 June, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on a Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion on home help hours, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD said the government is "cutting off its nose to spite its face" by freezing home help hours.
Teachta O'Reilly said the average weekly cost for an older person to be looked after in their home is €165 compared to just under €6,000 to look after them in hospital or just over €1000 in a nursing home.
Teachta O'Reilly said;
“Care delivered in the home allows older people to live with dignity and respect in their own home and it is known that this has significant mental and physical health benefits to being unnecessarily stuck in a hospital or a nursing home. 
“But, not only that, the home help service is one of the best value for money services in the health service, and any health economist will attest to its value for money.
“The average weekly cost to the State for an older person to be looked after under the home help scheme is around €165.  Whereas if someone is stuck in the hospital and cannot be discharged home because of a lack of home help services, it costs the health service around €5,992 per week, or if they are in a nursing home, it costs around €1,048 a week.
“This is a large part of the reason that the HSEs targeting of the home help service makes very little sense.  It is such a penny-wise and pound-foolish approach to making savings in the health service.
“There are currently over 6,000 older people on waiting lists for home help hours – that’s 6,000 older people whose needs are not met. That is a ridiculous waiting list for a service which actually saves the HSE money in the long run.
“The actions of the HSE here really constitute going after low hanging fruit and it needs to be called out.  The freezing of home help hours is cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

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