23 July 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fine Gael Cork North Central TD, Colm Burke, this week introduced the Health (Amendment) (Professional Home Care) Bill 2020 to the Dáil, saying this new legislation is designed to provide regulation in the area of professional home care.
Deputy Burke said: “The number of people aged over 65 is expected to increase to over one million over the next 20 years. At the same time the number of people over 80 years of age will increase dramatically.
“The majority of older people live active lives. A minority require assistance to live independently and the increase in the older population is likely to result in a greater need for community-based health and social care services. Government strategy signifies a clear preference to maintain old people in their own homes, yet despite this commitment, there is an absence of regulatory framework.
“Home Care is not however confined to older people. It also involves those who develop a chronic illness, those who have a physical or mental disability or those who are recovering at home after a serious car or work accident.
“The legislation I have tabled provides an appropriate regulatory framework and legal standards to be put in place for professional carers (as opposed to informal carers) engaged in the provision of care for people who live in their own home.
“The Law Reform Commission Report of 2011 “Legal Aspects of Professional Home Care” sets out clear recommendations in this area. In order to implement these recommendations, it is necessary to introduce legislation to amend the Health Act 2007, which is exactly what this Bill does.
“The Bill provides for the extension of the function of the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) to include the setting of standards in relation to services provided by professional home care providers. It gives power to the Minister for Health to put in place regulation dealing with all aspects of home care including requirement to prepare a home care plan. It also allows the Minister to put regulation in place which provides that standards are set in respect of detailed training requirements for those providing these services.
“I believe that the change in legislation provided for in this Bill is necessary if we want to guarantee safe, secure home care for all members of society who need it.”