Hundreds of people are set to lose vital home help supports from Wednesday.
Concerns have now been expressed that the decision to temporarily withdraw the service from those deemed by the HSE to be 'low-dependency' could actually make a bad situation worse during the Covid-19 crisis.
Cork North Central Sinn Féin TD, Thomas Gould, said he has been contacted by two families who say they will struggle to put in place alternative arrangements for their loved ones: "People understand there is a national health emergency but people didn't get enough notice.
"More work should have been done on this."
"People are already frightened and now the loss of home help supports is even more upsetting.
"Home help workers were in many cases keeping people in their own homes, and out of hospital.
"I would have concerns that this decision could end up making a bad situation worse."
The decision affects home help nationally.
In a statement, the HSE South said the challenges posed by Covid-19 forced a review of the level of home support service it provides across Cork and Kerry.
A spokesperson insisted that the withdrawal of supports to non-dependent service users is "a temporary measure" to allow it maintain the service for those most in need, and who rely on it most:
"Any changes will apply to people who have been assessed as being less reliant on the service – people who will be in a position to cope temporarily without the home support service."
"We have carried out significant work to make sure that people who have a higher level of need are identified, and their service will continue.
"We acknowledge that this is not the level of service which we usually provide, but we stress again that this a temporary measure which will be reversed once the Covid-19 crisis passes."
The HSE insists that anyone poised to have their level of service reduced will have been carefully assessed, and it said they will assess if any reduction in the level of support will be balanced by increased support from family members or alternative forms of volunteer-provided local supports:
"In the current circumstances there may be family members who would not ordinarily be at home who are in a position to provide support."
It also said it has invested in Meals on Wheels capacity in recent weeks and those in need of meals have been directed to local services.
The HSE is now urging those affected by this decision, or their families, to contact the local authority Covid-19 helplines. Cork county: 1800 805 819. Cork city: 1800 222 226.
The latest restrictions in operation since Friday, March 27 mandate that everyone should stay at home, only leaving to: