Ageing population a challenge for services?

25 October 2012

Nearly 15% of vulnerable elderly in difficulty receiving no helpHCCI says it's time to rethink Fair Deal and give older people what they want

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) welcomes the CARDI report published today which highlights the inadequacy of the current elder care system in Ireland. The report by Trinity College Dublin and Queens University Belfast researchers highlights the significant difference in care levels available North and South of the border with 14% of the Republic's over 65s who are in difficulty receiving no help, compared to only 2% of those in the North. The report points out that, in Northern Ireland, there is a legal basis for home help services and an integrated system to assess a person's need for care at home or placement in a care home. In the Republic, such assessment only applies in respect of the Fair Deal scheme for placement in a home. It acknowledges the compelling argument for the establishment of a legislative footing to home care especially given fiscal constraints and the rising demand for long-term care.

Michael Harty, HCCI Co-Chair said: The current system is grossly inadequate and unduly biased towards residential care in the form of the Fair Deal Scheme which accounts for almost €1 billion of the total €1.4 billion budget. Ireland currently has 7% of our elderly in residential homes, compared to 4% in the North and over twice as many as other European counterparts where the average is 3.2%.

Most disturbingly the Government's own figures indicate that only one in five of those currently in nursing homes were assessed for home care and as many as 45% of those are low and medium dependency for which home . care is a more suitable and cost effective option.

The Government needs to take action now and stop ring-fencing one type of care over another. Care in their own homes is the overwhelming preference of the majority of the elderly and could lead to exponential savings to the State with an average saving per person of c. €86/ day (over €30,000 per year) in home vs residential care for those with low and medium dependency.

Ireland has an increasing ageing population with the number of over-85s expected to more than double, from 48,000 in 2006 to 106,000 in 2021. It is estimated that a further 50,000 home care arrangements will be needed by 2021. The CARDI report also highlights if care in the community and residential care are not developed appropriately, the pressures on the acute hospital system will be unsustainable.

Mr Harty added, A report from HSE this week on Delayed Hospital Discharges shows that there are 614 people occupying expensive hospital beds that are fit to go home. Nearly 90% of these are over 65s who cannot be discharged because they are waiting for funding or community services to become available.

At a conservative cost of €800 per night, delayed discharges are costing over €490,000 each night they remain in hospital. This could equate to over 23,000 hours of home care.


For more information, or a copy of the HSE Delayed Discharges National Report published on 23rd October 2012, please contact:

Edel Bach: 086 045 3821 /

Note to the Editor:

About Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI):

Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) was set up in June 2012 following a merger of the Home Care Association and the Professional Institute of Care Providers. It is a representative body for private home care organisations in Ireland with the primary objective of promoting the highest professional standards of care in the home, in a cost-effective manner.

At present the HCCI has 25 member companies providing employment to almost 8,000 staff and caring for over 6,000 people across every county in Ireland. Home care is a care alternative that is preferred by the majority of care recipients, contributes to improved quality of life and is a cost-effective treatment option. Our members include operators across the country providing 78,000 hours of care each week at the frontline of health service provision.

For further information:

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