Agreement has been reached that will see home carers receive payment for hours in March that they would have previously lost.
Prior to the change in policy, carers were only paid for the first two days when a client entered self-isolation.
More than 3,000 of Home and Community Care Ireland’s (HCCI) clients are self-isolating and 11 have tested positive for COVID-19, 200 of those in isolation are awaiting a test. 416 carers are suspected to have the virus or are in wait of a test.
Hundreds of home care providers will be redeployed temporarily to nursing homes and residential care facilities in an attempt to aid staff during the current pandemic. The HSE had requested the voluntary deployment of some home carers.
As part of the agreement between both bodies, carers will receive full payment for any hours in March they would have otherwise lost. This wil be reviewed once again in the coming weeks by both the HSE and HCCI.
“We are ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to support those who need it most,” CEO of HCCI, Joseph Musgrave stated. Carers will only be redeployed where this makes sense for clients and if they have family who can, temporarily, take over the carer’s role, he outlined.
Musgrave added, “Once the Covid-19 crisis abates, and people go back to work, we understand from our conversations with the HSE that home care will be reinstated for these clients. We also recognise that redeployment is a decision for each individual carer to make but our members will work closely with interested carers if they wish to take on this temporary reassignment.”
Less than two weeks ago, the organisation set out a home care action plan with laid out six urgent recommendations to be put in place that they described as “a framework of measures to protect clients and carers across the country as well as to increase capacity in an already overburdened healthcare system”.
Among the recommendations were to suspend social welfare rules to free up more working hours among current staff, suspend requirements limiting employees on the Community Employment programme to 19 and a half hours of work per week, to suspend the rule that employees must €184 or less each week to retain their entitlement to a medical card. HCCI also sought that for the duration of the emergency, the need for new carers to shadow an existing carer be removed and for the current co