One of the country’s largest home private home care providers has announced that it is to increase its Irish workforce by 25%.
Home Instead, which currently has a 4,000-strong caregiver team, said it will hire an additional 1,000 carers, 250 of whom will be based in the Munster region, including 100 in Cork.
The carers deliver a range of non-medical care services to older people, which can facilitate early hospital discharge, and can delay the need for long-term residential care.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin welcomed the announcement, which he said comes at a “vital time for the country”.
“Supporting older people to live in their own home with dignity and independence, for as long as possible, is a priority for this Government," he said.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has again highlighted the vital work that caregivers do in our communities.
“We know that in the years ahead, Ireland, like so many countries, will face the challenge of an ageing population.
Home Instead CEO Shane Jennings said the shortage of professional care workers is acute and expanding.
“The number of people over the age of 65 in Ireland is expected to reach 1.4m by 2040, with even greater growth expected in the population aged 80 and over,” he said.
"This change has the potential for the biggest impact on health services overall.
“As life expectancy increases in Ireland, so too does the need for quality home care — and quality home carers.
“For the vast majority of older people, ageing at home has better health outcomes, is less expensive than institutional care, and can help prevent unnecessary or premature admission to long-term residential care.”