HCCI calls for urgent overhaul of home care

provision to free up acute hospital beds

Delayed discharges costing over €500k per night

15 April 2013

Figures made public today reveal that 658 patients are occupying hospital beds across the country, despite the fact that their acute care has ended and they are medically fit to be discharged. Almost 90% of these are elderly patients over 65 for whom alternative arrangements have not been put in place.

The HSE's own figures estimate the cost of a hospital stay per night at €800-€900 amounting to a conservative total cost of at least €500,000 each night the 658 patients remain in hospital, or the equivalent of over 23,800 hours of home care.

The latest HSE report published on April 1 also shows that there are 54 patients waiting six months or more to be discharged at a cost of almost €8,000,000.

The main reasons for the delay include people awaiting approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme, people waiting for home help, a home care package, access to a rehabilitation facility, or equipment from the HSE. Michael Harty, Co-Chair of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), said:

The delayed discharge figures are shocking, but what is more worrying is that they are part of a much wider issue the complete lack of a joined up approach to elder care that is costing millions each year. The whole system is unsustainable due to the ring-fencing of one type of care over another, and premature admissions into nursing homes, in complete contradiction to stated Government policy to help people remain in their homes for as long as possible. Increasing home care funding to enable faster discharge could save millions each year and free up much needed resources to safeguard frontline services. More importantly, it could also help elderly, dependent people to live longer at home and prevent unnecessary admission in the first place.

HCCI has recently published a report outlining how Government can maximise resources with savings of up to €48 million in the next year alone, through more open, transparent commissioning and increased patient choice, yet it seems this is falling on deaf ears. We would call on the Government and HSE to use the forthcoming tender for home care provision to urgently address these issues.


For more information, please contact:
Edel Bach: 086 045 3821 / edel.bach@humebrophy.com

Delayed Discharge figures from HSE Delayed Discharges, National Report, 1 April 2013, Report Produced on 3rd April.

Full report available on request.

About the Report:

HCCI commissioned EPS Consulting to explore the business case for a wider range of home care services to be tendered in line with the Department of Health's challenge: that change should be implemented at scale and pace and more care should be delivered in the community.

The report provides evidence-based research to support the case for a phased outsourcing of home care services to 2021 in line with the Minister for Health and HSE calls for increased efficiencies and innovative models of care. It also questions the wisdom of ring fencing budgets for one type of care over another rather than letting the money follow the patient in line with Government policy. The report found that up to €2bn could be saved over the next nine years if outsourcing and competitive tendering are brought in as Government policy. 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 the 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: www.hcci.ie