HIQA calls for regulation of homecare sector

HIQA is calling for regulation of the homecare sector.

The health watchdog says the lack of independent regulation places vulnerable people at risk in their own homes.

In a submission to the Department of Health, HIQA says homecare services need to be regulated in Ireland as a matter of priority.

"The majority of older people and people with a disability wish to remain in the comfort and safety of own homes and communities, where possible. Currently, most people have no choice but to be admitted to institutional care when they are no longer in a position to care for themselves," said HIQA CEO Phelim Quinn.

"It is clear that we, as a society, need to consider viable alternatives to long-term residential care that respect an individual’s right to choice, privacy, dignity and safety.

"There is currently no system in place to ensure that vulnerable people are receiving safe and high-quality care in the home setting. All people under the care of the State have the right to receive the best possible care and to be protected from abuse, regardless of whether they live in a residential centre or in their own homes.

"Regulation should apply to the service being provided rather than to the physical location. This would mean that that all service providers would be required to meet legally-binding homecare standards as set by an independent national regulator, reassuring people receiving care, and their loved ones, that the care being delivered is safe and of a high quality."

A major national opinion poll conducted by HIQA in May 2017 showed that 76% of people surveyed believed that homecare services for older and vulnerable people are independently regulated; however, this is currently not the case in Ireland.

Furthermore, 90% of individuals believed that professional services provided in the home should be regulated by an independent body.

Read HIQA's submission in full here:

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