HSE received nearly 100 home help complaints in 2011/’12
Complaint about pressure to make a will favouring a home help is most striking case
Separately, elder abuse statistics published by the HSE yesterday show that carers and home helps were implicated in only 5 per cent of elder abuse cases reported in 2012
A complaint against a home help who was alleged to have put “demands and pressures” on an elderly client to make a will in her favour in return for taking care of the family for the rest of their lives was upheld in a HSE investigation.
The complaint was one of almost 100 about home helps received by 21 of the HSE’s 32 local health offices in 2011 and 2012, according to files released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The release this week of information about 16 complaints received by seven HSE offices follows the publication by The Irish Times last month of details of 80 complaints sent to 11 other local health offices. Three HSE offices said this week they had received no complaints.
The complaint about pressure to make a will favouring a home help is the most striking case in the latest batch.
Others included a case where an elderly woman alleged that a home help forced her to fold clothes minutes after she had fallen; a complaint a manager in a home help agency said a client might lose her home help hours “if too much was made of” a complaint; and complaints centring on issues including non-attendance of staff, home helps not staying for the allotted time and poor time-keeping.
Separately, elder abuse statistics published by the HSE yesterday show that carers and home helps were implicated in only 5 per cent of elder abuse cases reported in 2012, compared to family members or partners who were the alleged perpetrators in 83 per cent of cases.
In the case concerning the home help and the will, the documentation shows a HSE investigation was launched and gardaí informed following complaints by neighbours of the client.
A subsequent HSE investigation interviewed the home help, the client and the complainants. The help said she was “very shocked” on receiving the letter outlining the allegations and denied she had put pressure on the client.
The client said the home help had asked if a will had been made. However, asked if they had ever felt pressurised, the client said there was no pressure from the help.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said the investigation committee had upheld the complaint, around “an inappropriate discussion . . . in relation to the client’s will”.