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December 16, 2010

New Homecare Regulations Promised (IRELAND)


New homecare regulations promised
December 14, 2010
By LUKE CASSIDY
Statutory regulation to control standards in the private homecare services sector may be in place next year, Minister of State with responsibility for Older People Áine Brady said earlier today.
Ms Brady said the Department of Health is examining regulation for the sector and while she couldn’t put a time frame on a completion date, she expects it “sometime next year”.
She was speaking after details emerged last night of substandard and inappropriate levels of care in the sector.
The Health Service Executive has begun a review of homecare services supplied to 65,000 older people following a series of complaints and a television news report.
The executive said it was “taking seriously” allegations that a number of private providers were failing to meet basic standards in the provision of care.
An investigation by RTÉ’s Prime Time  showed several instances where it appeared that vulnerable elderly people had received inadequate care, and, in at least one case, had been mistreated by a member of staff.
The programme showed an elderly woman apparently being force fed by a care attendant working for Clontarf Home Care Services. The company said three members of staff had been suspended on full pay pending an investigation.
The company said it was a not-for-profit community-based health care provider and had been proving homecare help for 38 years.
Ms Brady said it was clear the behaviour and practices highlighted in the programme constituted “an unacceptable” breach of trust.
“I am particularly concerned at the effects that any breach of trust has on the care recipients and their families and loved ones,” she said.
Ms Brady said there were 150 private providers catering for around 6,000 elderly people in their homes across the country.
While the Health Information and Quality Authority regulates standards in private nursing homes, the home care sector remains unregulated and there is no legal obligation on the providers to vet staff.

Abridged
SOURCE:     The Irish Times
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