Elderly people recovering from illness are being denied help in their homes public health nurses have said.
The nurses in the North Lee area covering Macroom to Youghal and the city have condemned what they say is the complete shutdown on distribution of new Home Help hours. The Public Health Nurses have been filling out assessment forms on the numbers of home help hours needed but say these recommendations are being ignored.
Patsy Doyle of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said only people who are terminally ill are receiving new allocations of home help hours. She said a new Home Support Office was now responsible for allocation home help hours and has placed a tighter restriction on spending.
“The HSE has placed such an emphasis on care in the home and community and yet the home help hours are being cut,” she said.
“The Public Health Nurses are experts at identifying the number of hours needed to support a client at home. Now, the HSE has turned its back on this expertise.”
However a spokesperson for the HSE said potential clients are being approved for new home help hours and said 150 new hours were approved last month in the North Lee area alone.
They confirmed that assessments from the Public Health Nurses are regularly reviewed by the Home Support Office and are implemented on a priority basis “subject to available resources.”
“In 2012, based on the funding and staff resources, the HSE must ensure it prioritises the allocation of home help hours.”