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TILDA findings on formal home-care utilisation by older adults presented at major nursing conference in Dublin today

Research led by Dr. Catriona Murphy (HRB Research Fellow) of TILDA and published in Health and Social Care in the Community reveals that 8.2% of those aged 65 years and older in Ireland are utilising publicly financed formal home-care in the form of domestic help and/or personal care. This is equivalent to more than 41,000 older adults utilising these services in the Irish population.

  • Utilisation of formal home-care increased by age from 1.6% of those aged 65-69 years to 30.3% of those aged 85 years and older.
  • Self-reported difficulty with carrying out household activity, older age and living alone were strong independent drivers of home-care utilisation.
  • Self-reported difficulty with carrying out personal care activity was not found to be a driver of home-care utilisation
  • Almost half of those utilising formal home-care reported no difficulty carrying out household activity or personal care activity. This finding requires further investigation.

Commenting on the study, lead author, Dr Catriona Murphy said "The findings reveal a formal home-care system which is focused on providing assistance to those who experience difficulty with household activity as opposed to difficulty with personal care activity". No evidence was found to suggest that the home-care system is shifting to a greater emphasis on personal care which is a key requirement in order to reduce the need for long-term residential care in the future. The absence of a uniform system to assess older people's need for home-care is a major barrier to shifting the focus from domestic help to personal care. As the number of older adults increases in our population the current system of assessing need and allocating home-care is not sustainable into the future and requires a focused policy response.

The study was funded by the Irish Health Research Board (HRB) under grant [Scholars PhD/2007/16]

Co-Authors include BJ Whelan TCD and Prof C. Normand TCD

The abstract of the paper is available here

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