Press Release

Minister Daly launches the report on the findings of the public consultation on home-care services

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, T.D., today launched the report on the findings of the Department of Health’s public consultation on home-care services. The consultation, which opened on 6th July 2017 and closed on 2nd October 2017, was undertaken to inform the development of a statutory scheme and system of regulation for home-care services. Over 2,600 responses were received from individuals and stakeholder-organisations. The report on the findings of the public consultation was prepared by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.

Minister Daly commented: “Home care is a crucial support for the many people across the country who need extra help to live in their own homes and communities. However, these services can and must be improved to better meet the changing needs of our citizens, and they must be put on statute to ensure every citizen has equal access to the services. For that reason, the development of a new statutory home care scheme and associated system of regulation is a key priority for me as Minister for Older People and for the Government. This proposed scheme will allow older people to live longer happier lives in their own homes. We have become very successful as a nation at adding years to life, however we must now work on adding life to those years”.

The Minister went on to say “This report provides a high-quality analysis of the submissions to the consultation and will help us to ensure that, in developing the statutory home-care scheme, we address the problems associated with existing service-provision as well as building on emerging good practice. I welcome the strong engagement of service-users, their families, health and community-care professionals and stakeholder organisations in the consultation and look forward to further dialogue throughout the process of developing the new scheme.”

The report is available online at https://health.gov.ie/blog/publications/report-on-the-findings-of-the-public-consultation-on-home-care-services/

Homecare Consultation Report

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Key themes from the consultation report

The consultation report identified the following key themes from the submissions received:

· A consensus in relation to the imperative for a statutory home-care scheme which will provide equity of access to standardised services;
· The need for the clear definition of home-care services;
· A consensus in relation to the need for person-centred care which provides the service-user with greater choice and control;
· The central importance of the Single Assessment Tool (SAT) to home-care service-provision;
· The need for integrated service design and delivery to support a fair, efficient and effective service;
· The need for the coordination of the services provided in the home and community across all sectors;
· The need for the closer integration of home-care and housing policy;
· The need to develop a broad-ranging training programme for care-workers;
· A consensus in relation to the need for the regulation of home-care;
· The need for greater investment in, and for the development of a sustainable funding model for, home-care services.

Key statistics from the consultation report

· 2,629 submissions were received.

N.b. The percentages given below pertain to the number of respondents to each question, given in brackets.

Respondents’ profiles and experiences
· 81.7% (n=1,513) of respondents were female.
· Those in the 40–59 age-range accounted for the greatest proportion of respondents (54.4%, n=1,008).
· Dublin-based respondents accounted for the greatest proportion (29.5%, n=547).
· The greatest proportion of respondents identified themselves as a relative or friend of a home-care recipient (27.3%, n=630).
· 34.8% (n=642) of respondents indicated that they have received home-care services.
· 11.7% (n=206) of respondents indicated that they are currently paying for home-care services.

Attitudes to home-care services
· Respondents were evenly divided about whether home-care services work well alongside primary and community services with 43.8% (n=669) indicating that they work well and 43.2% (n=660) indicating that they do not.
· A majority of respondents (54.8%, n=834) indicated that they do not think that home-care services work well alongside hospital services.
· There was a relatively even balance between respondents who think that home-care services work well alongside the care provided by family/unpaid carers, with 40% (n=604) indicating that they do and 45.5% (n=687) indicating that they do not.
· The greatest proportion of respondents indicated that, if they needed information about home-care services, they would ask a public health nurse (34.7%, n=441), followed by 29.1% (n=370) who indicated that they would ask a G.P..
· 54.3% (n=767) of respondents indicated that they are aware that tax-relief is available to people who pay for home-care services.

Shaping the future of home-care in Ireland
· 93.6% (n=1,433) of respondents indicated that people in receipt of home-care should have a greater say in the range of services provided to them.
· 87.5% (n=1,338) of respondents indicated that people in receipt of home-care should have a choice in relation to who provides their care.
· A large majority of respondents (>90%, n=>1,250) indicated that a standardised approach should be adopted across the country in relation to access to services; service-provision; application, assessment and appeals processes; and the monitoring of services.
· 92.8% (n=1,329) of respondents indicated that the same national quality standards should apply to all (public, private and not-for-profit) providers of home-care services.
· 92.1% (n=1,310) of respondents indicated that home-care workers should have to complete a minimum level of training to be set by the Government.
· 57% (n=786) of respondents indicated support for the introduction of means-tested user-contributions for home-care services.
· 61.4% (n=826) of respondents indicated that they would be prepared to purchase additional hours of home-care if they needed them.

Further consultation
The public consultation on home-care was just the start of broader stakeholder-consultation which will be integral to the development of the statutory scheme. The Department will also be consulting by:

· Meeting with individuals and groups;
· Meeting with home-care service-providers and other organisations that represent home-care service-users; and
· Asking everyone with an interest in home-care services for their views on the plans for the new scheme once they have been developed.