New Health Minister must plan for Ireland’s ageing demographic
ALONE comments on reports that thousands of older people were left waiting over 24 hours for treatment in hospital emergency departments
Dublin, 16th May 2016 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has expressed concern over the number of older people left waiting over 24 hours in hospital emergency departments in the first two months of the year. In last week’s HSE Performance Report, it was revealed that the numbers waiting over 24 hours for A&E care for January and February were up 14%. More than 8,600 patients waited more than a day for treatment in a hospital emergency department and, of these people, more than 2,700 were aged over 75.
CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said, “With an extra 20,000 over 65’s in Ireland every year, this problem is not going away. As people get older they succumb to a range of chronic illnesses which require close monitoring and management. We should also note that there are 170,000 older Irish people living alone, which makes them vulnerable to isolation and ill health. The government need to face these realities and Minister Harris must look to plan for this ageing demographic.”
He continued, “The new programme for government has committed to increasing funding for homecare packages and home help every year. The government has also promised to reduce emergency department overcrowding by developing primary care services and integrating primary and secondary care services, expanding hospital capacity, supporting timely patient discharge from hospitals and addressing hospital responsiveness to increased demand. We believe that until these measures are implemented, we will continue to face these issues and it will worsen.”
Moynihan concluded, “Healthcare for our ageing population should be a major priority for the government. If older people are supported at home and in the community, they are less dependent
on hospital services. The provision of quality healthcare for older people is a right and a necessity.”