Claire Sugden MLA has given her backing to the advice given by Claire Keatinge, Commissioner for Older people in Northern Ireland to Health Minister Simon Hamilton.
Miss Sugden said:
“I give my full backing to advice given to the Health Minister by Commissioner for Older People in NI, Claire Keatinge appealing for better quality, better planning and more investment in home care.
Older people deserve more and better care at home to live a full and dignified life. Domiciliary care in Northern Ireland is under severe pressure as investment from the NI government does not meet the growing needs of those being cared for at home. In 2014, nearly 25 000 people were receiving care at home; 84% were aged 65 and over. These figures are increasing.
Bizarrely the NI government continues to close more residential homes and encourage more people to consider care at home, yet they are not investing in domiciliary care to enable a high standard service. The NI Executive has broken their promise to invest more in community care and further threatens community care by removing services such as meals on wheels.
Older people should be given the opportunity to receive their care at home; care that meets their specific needs and fits into their lives, rather than their lives fitting into their care. Home care should encourage independence for patients which requires adequate support and investment from the NI government.
I commend the work of Commissioner, Claire Keatinge. She has been an inspiring champion of older people and has defended their needs while the government seems to have forgotten. I too call on the Health Minister to revaluate the needs of domiciliary care so older people receive the care they deserve.”