Home supports enable older people to remain in their own homes and communities, as well as facilitating timely discharge from hospital. At the end of August, preliminary data indicates that the HSE had provided over 1.7 million hours of home support in CHO 4 which includes Cork and Kerry and 8,929 people were receiving the service. However, I acknowledge that in some cases access to the service may take longer than we would like and the latest information available shows that there are 70 people in Kerry waiting for new or additional service.
In line with commitments given in the Programme for Government we have made improved access to home support services a priority. In 2020 an additional investment of €52 million is being made which will provide over 19.2 million hours of home support. This is 1 million hours more than the 2019 target and represents a substantial increase in service provision.
While the existing home support service is delivering crucial support to many people across the country, it needs to be improved to better meet the changing needs of our citizens. Included in this investment is dedicated funding for the testing of the new statutory home-support scheme in 2020.
The design of the new scheme will involve the establishment of a model of service with a streamlined central system of administration to improve and simplify how people access home-support services. While the administration of the scheme will be centralised, the delivery of services will be co-ordinated at local level in line with a person’s assessed need. A core component of the Scheme and the testing phase will be the implementation of InterRAI, as the standardised assessment tool for determining need under the new scheme.
The testing phase will include a range of services with a focus on improving both cognitive and physical capacity and resilience to support people to live in their homes and in their communities. The core principles of Healthy Ireland, Positive Ageing, prevention and early intervention will underpin this approach.