Launch of Report on Home Care for Older People by TCD Social Policy and Ageing Centre

Posted on: 14 September 2006

Home care for older people in Ireland needs to be taken seriously and prioritised by policy makers, the Director of Trinity College’s Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre¹, Dr Virpi Timonen, stated at the launch of the TCD Centre’s first book, No Place Like Home  on September 14th last.

“Now is the time to develop guidelines for ensuring the provision of high-quality home care. The recent focus on in-home care is welcome, but much work needs to be done to develop policies which prioritise such care,” said Dr Timonen.

In this first report to be issued by the TCD Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC), it selected home care as its initial flagship project, reflecting the central importance of developing this area of policy and provision in Ireland.

For the purposes of the study which was conducted in August 2005-April 2006, 125 individuals were interviewed who were involved in the financing and delivery of home care for older people in the greater Dublin area.  These interviews and documentary and historical analysis are used to map the home care system as it has evolved into its current form. The three sectors involved in the financing and provision of home care – public, non-profit and private sectors are compared.  The strengths and weaknesses of the current system are also outlined and a number of policy recommendations are put forward.

The study argues that home care must be central to care policy for the older population and that increased investment is necessary in order to ensure that high-quality home care is available.

“Policy makers in Ireland understand that it makes financial and social sense to enable older people who wish to do so, to remain living in their own home, or to return home after a hospital stay. Progress has been made in this regard, but this has happened in the absence of a clearly spelled out policy framework,” commented SPARC Director, Dr Timonen.

“Ignoring the duties of ensuring quality care to care recipients and ensuring good terms and conditions of employment for care workers would be grave errors that would sooner or later result in abuses of various kinds,” concluded Dr Timonen.
The SPARC publication was launched by the President of the Law Reform Commission, Justice Catherine McGuinness.


Notes to the editor:
1. The Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC),  which forms part of Trinity College’s  School of Social Work and Social Policy,  was established in 2005 with the view to generating fresh, rigorous thinking on social policy as it relates to the ageing population in Ireland and internationally. The Centre draws on policy and practice in Ireland and abroad to generate insights into ways in which social policies can better serve older people. In addition to generating high-quality research, the Centre hosts graduate students working towards policy relevant PhDs.  Researchers from the Centre are members of an interdisciplinary team working on the first longitudinal study of the ageing population (TILDA).