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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Home helps put elderly man to bed at 3pm due to lack of cover

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 09/11/2012 | 05:00

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AN elderly man has to be put to bed by his home helps at 3pm because there is no evening service.

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The plight of the disabled man in Wexford was highlighted at an Oireachtas committee meeting, amid claims that the HSE is mis-spending home-help funding.

Carers' Association chief executive John Dunne said the man was receiving a home-care package and had to be hoisted into bed.

The two home helps were employed by the HSE but were not willing to work evenings. This lack of flexibility meant that the man had to rely on whatever service he could get.

Mr Dunne, who was among a number of representatives of health organisations that outlined pre-budget submissions to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

He said: "Putting a man to bed at 3pm is disgraceful but it will not threaten his life. We are now coming across other cases where I believe people's medical welfare is at risk.

"This is because home-help workers are being redeployed by the HSE to be part of a home-care package which requires a higher level of care.

"We have come across cases where home helps literally do not know how to do moving or handling. The HSE would say they insist that their staff have that training, but as far as I can see, they do not.

"The association receives a high volume of calls from concerned families who are reluctant to complain about undertrained staff for fear of losing their package."

Mr Dunne called on the Government to honour its pledge not to cut carers' allowance rates.

He added that those who get the allowance are cut off six weeks after the person they are looking after dies but argued that this should be extended to 12 months.

Carers

Other groups representing people with disabilities and suffering from mental illness also stressed the need for the budget measures not to hit vulnerable groups again.

Meanwhile, the Government was urged by the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation to appoint a regulator to limit the profits of the tobacco industry and generate around €150m a year for the Exchequer.

IHF head of advocacy Chris Macey said such a system had "worked effectively for other industries".

Irish Independent

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