ALONE is asking the Government to prioritise home care packages and community health care services for older people to help alleviate the trolley crisis.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) today reported a record high of 677 people on trolleys and wards awaiting a bed in Irish hospitals.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “Today’s trolley crisis highlights the urgent need for support coordination for older people in Ireland.
“With 20,000 people turning 65 years of age each year, our current health system is not equipped to deal with this.
“Often, older people are ending up in hospital unnecessarily, and we believe that this is due to a lack of support for older people in the community.
“As people get older their health requires 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. This risk increases in winter when the nights are darker and the days are colder.
“The shortage of hospital beds is a complex issue and there is not one solution to this, but there are a range of solutions that are more economically viable, more effective and more compassionate than having sick people on hospital trolleys.
“There are many older people who are well enough to be at home provided they have adequate support.
“However they cannot be discharged as there are no options of care available to them or their homes are not suitably adapted for their needs. “
ALONE were recently awarded the overall HSE Excellence Award for its innovative Support Coordination development for older people in Dublin North city and county.
The ‘Innovative Support Coordination for Older Persons’ is a joint project between ALONE and the HSE which aims to keep older people living well at home for as long as possible.
It addresses issues faced by older people living in their own homes and works with statutory bodies, community organisation, and other service providers to ensure that the older people get the supports they need.
For those who have concerns about their own well-being, or the well-being of a vulnerable older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie