Cuts in homecare hours at a time when more people with complex needs are crying out for the service is a "serious accident waiting to happen", it was claimed yesterday.
John Dunne, chief executive of Family Carers Ireland, also warned about the ongoing lack of regulation of private homecare, even though an external watchdog was promised two years ago.
He was among a number of carer organisations and providers who highlighted serious issues with homecare at the Oireachtas health committee.
The committee was told it is now more difficult for a person over 65 to get homecare than a decade ago and growing numbers who do get a service are only entitled to support for as little as 30 minutes.
Pat McLoughlin of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland said: "A range of quality community-based services could greatly improve the social health of people with dementia and ease the burden and time required by family carers."
The extensive report into why people are being left in hospital longer than they need to be shows there are often complex reasons at the heart of the delays and the very least we could do is make sure we understand the problem.