Homecare complaints: 10 regions
Seven local health area offices reported complaints about home-help services while three others did not report any
Dublin South East
l A complaint on behalf of a “frail 95-year-old lady” referred to “dissatisfaction at the level of service provided by the current carers on a number of occasions” including a lack of experience in ‘live-in caring’ and carers’ inability to cook meaning the client was reliant on Meals-on-Wheels for most meals. One carer who “did not have sufficient English to communicate” with the client caused “great upset” to the individual according to the complaint. The documentation indicates that the care provider was subsequently changed.
l Details around a second complaint were redacted under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that they involved information on the “functions and negotiations of public bodies”.
One complaint expressed concern over the level of care being delivered to a person receiving radiation treatment. It stated that “the carers rarely arrive on time and never stay for the full hour, instead often leaving after less than 30 minutes”. One carer [said]. . . “that her travel time was included in the hour”. The same complainant said that requests to complete tasks such as shopping and cleaning the bathroom and bedroom were met with “objections and disdain”. The complainant said that when contact was made with a manager at the home help agency he said “he would look into it, but that [name redacted] might loose [sic] the hours if too much was made of it”.
l Some details around a second complaint were redacted under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that they involved third-party personal information and information obtained in confidence. However, one non-redacted part of the correspondence reveals that the complaint related to issues around the non-attendance of staff, poor time keeping and a discontinuity of staff.
l One complaint centred on a client with Parkinson’s who complained he was not receiving an adequate number of home help hours. A subsequent HSE investigation indicated that the client’s care needs were being met.
l Another complaint came from a couple who said they had been without a homecare assistant from May 2011 to July of the same year.
l A third complaint centred on a woman whose mother had suffered a bleed to the brain leaving her with memory loss and confusion and “very uncoordinated mobility”. It was alleged that the woman was left without a homecare package for a two-week period after being released from hospital, a situation which the complainant described as “extremely unprofessional and upsetting”. The HSE subsequently wrote to the complainant saying that her mother had contacted the home help co-ordinator to say she did not want to avail of the service. The documentation indicated that a new homecare arrangement was due to be put in place for the client.
l A complainant questioned why home help was not being made available to a disabled family member. A subsequent investigation found that the person in question was sanctioned two hours’ home help services but that each time the home help was proposed to begin work in the household, the client had postponed the start date.
l A complainant wrote to the HSE saying the reduction in home help hours to a family had been “devastating” for the family. However, in subsequent correspondence the HSE said “the home support(s) currently available to your parents are appropriate given the resources available” and that the care plan would be kept under active review.