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Your chance to shape homecare in Ireland

Written by: Dr Marita O'Brien
Health Policy Officer
11/08/2017

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Last month the Government launched its long awaited consultation on a new statutory scheme for homecare in Ireland.

While those in need of nursing home care have the Fair Deal scheme available, which is not without its problems, nothing like that exists to support families to provide care at home.

Age Action welcomed the announcement of the consultation and we are urging our members and supporters to get involved.

It is critical that this consultation focuses on the type and quality of care provided. We need proper regulation of homecare and a transparent, consistent, system of assessing care needs for older people.

Our homecare services are in crisis. Across Ireland thousands of older people are on waiting lists for home care packages. 

You are the real experts

You're the real experts in homecare, not the people in the Department of Health or the HSE, it’s the people out in the community struggling to get by with too little support or none at all.

This crisis is driven by a lack of adequate funding and the failure to put in place a scheme like this so it’s good to see the Government moving ahead.

The consultation was launched by the new Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly TD.

“I am committed to enabling more care in the community for older people and others with identified care needs,” said Minister Daly. “I would like to find out what people think about current homecare services – what is working well and what needs to be improved.

“I also want to hear the public’s views on what the future scheme should look like. This will help us to design a homecare system that better meets the needs of service users.”

The consultation paper is aimed at people who use homecare services, their families and the general public.

The survey is available online at http://health.gov.ie/consultations or you can request a paper copy by calling 01 635 4402.

You can also make a submission with the help of the Age Action information team by calling them on 01 475 6989.

The closing date for submissions is 2 October 2017.

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Hse are a joke

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Top tips for staying cool

  • Keep out of the heat. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
  • If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.

Dehydration and overheating

Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.

If you have any of these symptoms you must:

  • find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
  • drink plenty of water or fruit juice
  • sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.

If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

  • call 999 immediately or 112 if you are in the European Union (you can call 112 from a mobile for free). If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
  • while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.

Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
  •  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at  https://www.met.ie/warnings
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
  • For further advice about heat-related illness contact your GP.

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.