Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (55)

Louise O'Reilly


55. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the impact of the waiting list for home help on delayed discharges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48896/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Homecare is an increasingly important part of the supports enabling older people to remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and for facilitating their discharge from acute hospitals. While we have seen significant investment in recent years in home support there is unmet need and demand is growing for the service. Nationally, at the end of August 7,255 people had been assessed and were waiting for either new or additional home support services.

The HSE has assured the Department that those people who are on a waiting list are reviewed, as funding becomes available, to ensure that individual cases continue to be dealt with on a priority basis within the available resources and as determined by the local front line staff who know and understand the clients’ needs, and who undertake regular reviews of those care needs to ensure that the services being provided remain appropriate. In addition, people being discharged from acute hospitals, who are in a position to return home with supports, are prioritised.

We have made improved access to home support services a priority and an additional investment of €52 million brings the total funding for home supports to approximately €487 million in 2020. Next year the HSE aims to deliver over 19.2 million hours of home support, representing a substantial increase of 1 million hours more than this year’s target.

Delayed Transfers of Care is a complex and challenging issue and a wide range of factors may contribute to this, including process and service-related matters. The Report of the Independent Expert Review of Delayed Discharges, published last year, highlights the complexities involved. The latest data available (19th November) indicates that nationally there were 29 people in hospital classified as delayed and waiting funding for a home support package. This is represents about 4% of all cases. Nevertheless, home support along with other community measures are a long established and recognised feature of support timely egress from our acute hospitals.

The importance of these supports is further recognised in the HSE's recently published winter plan. The Winter Plan provides additional resources to facilitate a reduction in Delayed Transfers of Care by supporting the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, Transitional Care and Home Supports. €2 million of this funding has been allocated for the provision of an additional 1,110 home support packages with 600 of these allocated across the CHOs to deal specifically with clients assessed and waiting for home supports.

Following the 2018 publication of the Independent Expert Review of Delayed Discharges, an implementation group has been established by the HSE to progress the recommendations. I have also established a Cross Divisional Oversight Group within the Department of Health to oversee the HSE’s implementation of the recommendations. Work is progressing in this regard.

Question No. 56 answered orally.