Emergency measures required to alleviate pressure on hospitals and support vulnerable people in their homes
Emergency measures required to alleviate pressure on hospitals and support vulnerable people in their homes, says HCCI.
Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) – the national membership organisation for companies that provide home care services – has today, Friday March 20, called on elected representatives in Longford to support its Covid19 home care action plan.
The plan sets out six urgent recommendations for government and the HSE to ensure home care providers can continue to provide essential care services to vulnerable people in Longford and across Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to HCCI, home care services will play a crucial role in the coming months in alleviating pressure on hospital beds.
Commenting Joseph Musgrave, Chief Executive of HCCI, said: “We are calling on all TDs in Longford to support our Covid-19 action plan, which is a framework of measures to protect clients and carers across the country, as well as to increase capacity in an already overburdened healthcare system.
“Firstly, we need to stabilise our sector to ensure it can fully play its part in the midst of the current crisis, providing essential care services to people in Longford and across Ireland.
“Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge to our country, and our normal way of life. The Taoiseach’s words in this week’s Ministerial Broadcast spoke both to, and for, our country. Our frontline care staff are immensely brave, and particular mention has to be made for the more than 50 care staff that our members employ, who are self-isolating upon the advice of public health. Their service is courageous.
“Almost 1000 existing home care clients are choosing to self-isolate, including from their home carers. The current HSE policy is that, where clients choose to self-isolate, including from carers, pay for their carers is limited to the first two days of the self-isolation. As a result, home care staff whose clients are self-isolating over several weeks are going unpaid. This threatens their job security and, indeed, the viability of our entire sector."
They have proposed the current payment for carers whose clients have to self-isolate.
Mr Musgrave continued: “We propose the current payment for carers whose clients self-isolate be extended from two days to up to six weeks. The current limit unfairly penalises both carers and clients – who may lose their home care package if they voluntarily self-isolate. An extended period of pay for carers would be more in line with government announcements on the Covid-19 sick leave policy and Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
“The second aim of our action plan is to boost capacity in the home care system, thereby alleviating pressure on hospitals nationwide. We are calling on government to amend social welfare limits that currently deter people from entering the caring profession or expanding their working hours as carers. If we can increase capacity in our sector now, we can move more people out of much-needed hospital beds and into home care settings.”
The HCCI Action Plan recommendations are as follows:
“Over the past week, we have been attempting to engage proactively with the authorities to prepare a robust plan for the home care sector in the face of the Covid-19 crisis,” said Joseph Musgrave.
“We have been in constant contact with the HSE, the Department of Health and our own members since the onset of Covid-19. To date, the authorities have issued some basic clinical guidance to home care providers and announced the damaging self-isolation pay policy, which caps pay at two days for affected carers.
“We all have our part to play in this national emergency, and without the support of TDs in Longford, we could see a deepening crisis in our sector, as well as a missed opportunity to support the work of hospitals across Ireland. HCCI’s proposals are ready for implementation, subject to government agreement. We are calling on government to implement our action plan now to ensure our sector is operating at full capacity and effectiveness when it is needed most.” he concluded.
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