From Vivienne Batt
Is homecare for older people in Ireland equitable?
Presenter: Lhara Mullins, Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway
Other Authors: Professor Margaret Hodgins, Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway
Older people in Ireland largely want to remain in their own homes and communities as they age. Homecare enables
older people to stay at home for longer and avoid admission to long-term stay facilities/nursing homes. Yet homecare
in Ireland remains a discretionary service, with no statutory right or entitlement to receive this, nor regulation to
govern this sector.
A qualitative methodology was employed. Both focus groups and one-to-one interviews were undertaken, with
the aim of gathering data which was meaningful and captured the experiences of both older people and homecare
Older people report that their homecare visit substantially and positively impacts their lives. Findings propose that
homecare workers often provide additional care and support in an unpaid capacity, in an effort to meet the needs of
the older people they care for comprehensively. While addressing the social needs of older people is a fundamental
aspect of homecare provision, based on the perspectives of both older people and homecare workers.
Societal expectations of women to provide care and support to vulnerable individuals, compounds the challenges
faced by homecare workers in the administration of their duties. The care of older people, when compared to other
potentially vulnerable groups in Irish society, falls significantly below what is necessary. This dearth in services
more generally aimed at meeting the holistic needs of older people in Ireland, further exacerbate the difficulties
experienced by both parties, within the homecare relationship.
Additional research and resources are needed pertaining to homecare in Ireland, to comprehensively identify and
address the fragmented nature of current service provision. Legislation to regulate the homecare sector in Ireland,
which is currently in draft status, should be enacted as a priority, in order to create a more equitable delivery of
services for those most affected.
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