The Home Support Service is a core service for older people and is highly valued by service users, their families and by the HSE. It provides supports which assist older people to live independently in their own homes for longer and enables large numbers of people to return home following acute hospital admission who otherwise would remain in hospital or would be admitted to long stay residential care. This allows care to be provided in the community, which is a key principle of the vision of and implementation plan for Sláintecare.
There has been sustained significant investment in these services over the past number of years which has seen the growth in the home support budget from a base of €306m in 2014 to €418m in 2018.
The HSE has begun streamlining home care services by introducing a single funded home support service in 2018. This brings together the funding for home help and standard home care packages which now operates as a single home support service from 2018 onwards. The HSE’s 2018 National Service Plan provides for a target of some:
- 17.094m home support hours to be provided to 50,500 people, which compares with last year’s 16.34m hours delivered to 50,000 people (home help and home hours combined). This is an increase on 2017 provision of 754,000 hours to 500 more people;
- 235 intensive home support packages will provide 360,000 home support hours for people with complex needs.
A further initiative saw 324 people being provided with Home Support services in the context of the adverse weather earlier this year.
I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy's query in relation to cost comparisons.