Homecare sector responds to the need of Ireland’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis

HCCI home carers to be temporarily redeployed to support the most vulnerable in the community and front-line health care colleagues in nursing homes

Thursday 2 April 2020: Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), the national body for home care providers, has agreed to the HSE’s request to accommodate the voluntary redeployment of some home carers to support other front-line healthcare workers in nursing homes and residential care facilities.  As part of measures agreed with the HSE, carers will be temporarily redeployed from caring for low dependency clients in their homes if these clients can be cared for by family members who are at home due to social isolation.

The redeployed carers will provide care for higher dependency clients in their own homes during the Covid-19 crisis as well as provide additional support to nursing homes where individual carers agree.  The HSE will work with home care clients to make the determination on which clients are willing to have home care temporarily suspended.

Part of the agreement includes a change in policy from the HSE. Previously, carers were only paid for the first two days when a client self-isolated. Carers will now receive full payment for any hours in March they would otherwise have lost. The package will be reviewed again in April by the HSE and HCCI with a view to continuing this much needed support for the workforce.

Commenting on the plan, Joseph Musgrave, CEO, Home and Community Care Ireland said: HCCI members and their carers are on the frontline of this pandemic, caring for the most vulnerable in communities across the country.  Our members support them to remain in the safety of their homes as they cocoon and self-isolate. However, we agree with the Minister’s belief that healthcare should not operate in siloes – the more collaborative we can be, the stronger we will be. We are ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to support those who need it most.

However, we want to reassure our clients that carers will only be redeployed where this makes sense for clients and if they have family who can, temporarily, take over the carer’s role,” continued Musgrave. “Once the Covid-19 crisis abates, and people go back to work, we understand from our conversations with the HSE that home care will be reinstated for these clients. We also recognise that redeployment is a decision for each individual carer to make but our members will work closely with interested carers if they wish to take on this temporary reassignment.

Home carers are playing a central role in managing this unprecedented crisis, alongside hospitals, nursing home and other community care supports. The wonderful work they do should be recognised as such. HCCI will continue to work with the HSE and Department of Health to play our part during this national emergency, concluded Musgrave.

Notes:

  • 3,202 clients are self-isolating. This is an increase of 23% on last week (Wed 25 March) and an increase of 357% compared to the week before (Wed 18 March).
  • 11 clients have tested positive for COVID-19 and all have been transferred to hospital.
  • 210 clients are self-isolating who are suspected to have COVID-19 or are awaiting a test. This is an increase of 42% on last week (Wed 25 March) and 488% on the week before (Wed 18 March).
  • 609 carers are self-isolating. This is an increase of 12% on last week (Wed 25 March) and an increase of 454% compared to the week before (Wed 18 March).
  • 416 carers are self-isolating who are suspected to have COVID-19 or are awaiting a test. This is an increase of 6% on last week (Wed 25 March) and 650% on the week before (Wed 18 March).
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