Thursday, 5 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
104. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if the pilot scheme for providing a subvention towards home care is available to persons on the waiting list for residential care required by physical or mental disability. [3458/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. Callely): Since my appointment as Minister of State, I have been encouraging the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards to introduce personal care packages for older people as an alternative to long stay residential care. Personal care packages are specifically designed for the individual concerned and could possibly include the provision of a home help service, home subvention payments, arrangements for attendance at a day centre or day hospital and other services such as twilight nursing. Personal care packages allow older persons the option to remain living in their own home rather than going into long stay residential care.
The pilot project referred to by the Deputy, which is aimed at supporting older people in the community, is currently being evaluated by the authority and the results of the evaluation will no doubt inform the authority's consideration to roll out this programme to other care groups.
105. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the terms of the recent scheme introduced whereby beds in acute hospitals which were blocked by persons requiring long-term nursing home care have been vacated by means of an enhanced nursing home subvention towards the accommodation of these patients in private nursing homes; and if he plans to further extend this scheme. [3459/04]
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department under the bed capacity initiative allocated extra resources to both the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Southern Health Board to ease pressure on beds in the acute hospital system and to provide more step down accommodation for older people, who were being inappropriately cared for in acute hospital beds. A sum of €3.8 million was allocated to the Eastern Regional Health Authority and €1.7 million to the Southern Health Board in July 2003. A total of €12.5 million has been allocated for this purpose in 2004.
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