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Disability Services Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 July 2020

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Questions (693)

Darren O'Rourke


693. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health when services (details supplied) will be reopening after its closure due to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13894/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As part of the overall effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in line with public health advice, day service locations have been closed since March. However priority service users have been identified in each CHO, and individualised supports continue to be provided to many people in alternative models particularly for these individuals with higher support needs, through alternative means such as via online support and/or regular telephone contact with families. Health and social care responses to the current public health emergency are under continuing review, including specific measures such as these to support vulnerable people.

The resumption of adult day services is currently being considered by my Department and the HSE as part of broader planning to prepare for the resumption of non-COVID-19 community and social care services in the current environment, and in line with public health guidance. My Department and the HSE has established a Joint Working Group to develop a plan for Community Capacity.

The HSE is finalising plans to re-establish vital non-COVID supports and services. This includes very careful and detailed work on the part of the disability sector with national guidance and will result in directing how all funded agencies can deliver services on a medium to long-term basis. A national group for the resumption of day services representative of service users and families, service providers and the HSE is working together to prepare for the resumption of day service supports in line with COVID-19 guidance. The Framework for the Resumption of Adult Disability Day Services and Action Plan for resumption of services have been completed. The national group are currently developing guidance to support the day service sector to reopen within the parameters of public health advice.

Community Healthcare Organisations are working with service providers to ascertain the current level of service provision and innovative practises that have developed over the last number of months. The collation and analysis of this data will provide a current national picture which will enable the resumption group to address the challenges of reopening day service locations.

The resumption group plan to have completed the above strands of work by the end of June following which a timeframe for the phased reopening of adult day services will be planned in cooperation with HSE disability services and service providers. In the meantime, service providers continue to contact day service users regarding their support needs and are providing those supports in different ways. Some supports continue to be provided in a number of ways, for example by telephone, online communication and responses to address emergency needs.

The HSE and disability service providers, where identified, will continue to communicate with school leavers and their families to plan and organise for a transition to day services in line with public health guidance.

The safety of service users and staff is of critical importance therefore the attendance at locations will be determined by public health guidance, which may result in some reduction of capacity.

An information leaflet for service users and their families was developed by the national group and distributed widely to all stakeholders on June 9th.

It is expected that a clearer picture will emerge before end of June as to when day services are likely to be reinstated and how the service will be delivered taking account of Public Health Guidance and COVID-19 restrictions.

The Framework for Resumption of Adult Disability Day Services and the information leaflet “What’s Happening” is available on the New Directions website:

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.