Publication of the Review of the Elder Abuse Framework and Structures
Ms Mary Harney, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today published the Review of the Elder Abuse Service. The Minister welcomed the Report which found that “progress was most evident and pronounced in the health sector”. The HSE Elder Abuse Service is comprised of a dedicated staffing structure throughout the country, unified data collection, national and regional oversight mechanisms, a research facility and awareness and training programmes. “While there is more work to be done in this area, we have a good foundation in place, and work has started on implementing the recommendations in the Report” the Minister noted.
Ms Áine Brady, T.D., Minister for Older People and Health Promotion stated that “over 1,800 allegations of elder abuse were referred to the HSE in 2008, compared to over 900 in 2007”. Paradoxically any increase in numbers is a good thing as this shows that the structures are in place and working. She re-iterated the Governments’ commitment to tackle all instances of elder abuse.
The Review makes recommendations around three main areas:- a) Strengthening existing institutional arrangements, accelerating progress on existing recommendations in Protecting our Future and addressing emerging areas of concern. Commenting on the progress made in implementing the recommendations in the Report Minister Harney stated “Performance and Activity Indicators have been developed which will assist in monitoring and planning for the Service into the future. In addition, an Action Plan has been developed, in conjunction with the HSE, to implement the outstanding proposals in the Report”.
Protections for older people in residential care were strengthened by the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland and underpinned by the Health Act, 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2009 which came into effect on 1 July, 2009. “Standard number 8 sets out the criteria necessary to protect residents from all forms of abuse” Minister Harney stated. In addition Minister Harney welcomed the progress being made by HIQA and the HSE in developing a protocol to link the inspection teams with the elder abuse service.
Noting the recommendation on raising public awareness and the findings in relation to under-reporting of elder abuse both Ministers urged people to report any anxieties they may have. There is a variety of supports available and anyone who has concerns may report their anxieties to, a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Síochána, any professional or care worker or their bank or solicitor.
Read the Review Report and Action Plan