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Government Spending Review points to the need for increase investment in Home Care

The Spending Review 2019 - Review of Carer’s Supports specifically examines carers support schemes since 2008.  The report notes that the increasing numbers of children and adult of working age who are in receipt of care and are likely to be in need of long-term care will increase pressure on the system, particularly in the areas of home-help and community nursing.  This has implications for how policy in this area is designed and delivered into the future.  Among the key findings are:

  • There has an 80% increase in recipients of carers supports between 2008 and 2018.
  • The largest proportion of those [providing informal care are women and aged between 40 and 59 years.
  • Increased numbers of people requiring care in the future and a potential decline in available carers means there will likely be additional pressure on home help and community nursing schemes. 
  • Donegal and Longford have the highest proportion of Carers Allowance recipients per capita in Ireland, at over 2%.
  • Between 2015 and 2017 the number of people being cared for claiming a pensions has remained stable, but the numbers of children and people of working age being cared for has increased.

At a Government level it is time to develop policy that will truly support carers, ensuring they have access to the services they require, and policies that support a combination of care and employment for a start.  In addition Social Justice Ireland believes that further policy reforms should be introduced to reduce the financial and emotional pressures on carers. In particular, these should focus on addressing the poverty experienced by many carers and their families alongside increasing the provision of respite care for carers and for those for whom they care. In this context, the 24 hour responsibilities of carers contrast with the improvements over recent years in employment legislation setting limits on working-hours of people in paid employment.

Social Justice Ireland has continually highlighted concerns that  the ageing of the population is not being properly planned for given that it will result in a steady increase in demand on community care and home care services.  The findings of this review point to a need to increase investment in community care, and home help and to provide a statutory entitlement to Home Care Packages.  Action in this area is long overdue.