The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge has issued advice to the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety and said that older people need more and better care at home to live dignified and fulfilled lives.
The Commissioner’s advice to the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety has been provided following a Summit held in September. At the Summit older people and stakeholders involved in the commissioning, regulation and inspection and delivery of domiciliary care services were brought together to consider what is already working in the system and what needs to change.
Speaking about advice contained within Domiciliary Care in Northern Ireland – A Report of the Commissioner's Summit, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge said;
'Care at home helps thousands of older people lead dignified and fulfilled lives in their own homes. Older people have told me that they value and appreciate the care that they receive. However too often, because investment in domiciliary care services is not keeping up with the increasing levels of need, care at home is failing to meet the real needs of older people.
'Pressures on the provision of care at home means that many older people who need care are not given it until their needs are assessed as 'critical'. This means that opportunities for early intervention are reduced. Also, care visits of fifteen minutes or less are too short to provide dignified personal care.
'Despite carrying out vital work enabling older people to remain at home, domiciliary care workers do not receive the pay or training that they deserve. Families and friends are also inadequately supported as they provide unpaid care at home for loved ones who have complex care needs, many of whom live with dementia.
'I have issued advice which should be implemented so that older people can be confident that they will receive high quality care at home when they need it, at the level that they need it and regardless of where they live. We must see high quality care standards, strong regulation and inspection, clear planning and investment, and certainty that older people will receive care at home whenever they need it.”
Domiciliary Care in Northern Ireland – A Report of the Commissioner’s Summit can be downloaded at www.copni.org/publications