31 July 2020
By Tom Collins
Fine Gael Cork North Central TD, Colm Burke has welcomed the Interim Report on Covid-19 in Nursing Homes, saying it reinforces the need for new legislation to regulate the professional home care sector.
Reacting to the report published by the Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 today (Friday) Deputy Burke said: “I recently introduced the Health (Amendment) (Professional Home Care) Bill 2020 to the Dáil, which will provide regulation in the area of professional home care. The Interim Report on COVID-19 supports and reinforces by Bill in that it recommends that the current regulatory framework for the care of older people be examined by the Department of Health.
Deputy Burke who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee said: “The priority of the new Government is that older people should get to live with dignity and independence in their own home for as long as possible.
“However we know that a minority will require assistance to live independently and the increase in the numbers of our older population is likely to result in a greater need for community-based health and social care services. It is also important for people 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.
“There is a real and pressing need for this type of home care to have a regulatory framework. That’s what my Bill will deliver, and I am pleased to see the need for it reflected in the Oireachtas Committee report.
“Our Committee also makes important recommendations to deal with a potential second wave of COVID-19 including that the Department of Health in conjunction with the HSE and HIQA take immediate steps to develop a plan that will ensure that staffing levels and infection control procedures in the nursing home sector are adequate to meet any such event. We have recommended a review of the resilience of the nursing home sector when it comes to obtaining appropriate medical supplies for crisis situations and ensure they are adequately stocked with PPE.”