Concerns have been raised about the drop in overnight respite services in some areas of Cork over the last few years.
Of the four Cork areas included in the Community Healthcare Organisation Area 4 (CHO4), Cork South Lee recorded the most dramatic drop in overnight services.
Since 2015 there’s been a drop of almost 38% in respite care overnights, while there’s a drop of 13% in West Cork in the same time period.
In North Lee, there’s a drop of almost 19% since 2014, while the only area in Cork that recorded an increase in overnight respite care was North Cork, which increased from 2,503 overnights in 2014, to 3,412 in 2018.
In the figures provided to Fianna Fáil Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahoney by the HSE they said that a significant number of respite beds have been used for long term residential placement due to home circumstances and the complexity of the individual.
“The numbers of people with disabilities in receipt of residential respite services and the corresponding number of respite nights has reduced when compared to previous activity,” the response said.
The issue was raised in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath.
“The provision of respite care in Cork is appalling. It is literally only provided in emergency cases where families simply cannot continue. That is the reality,” Deputy McGrath said.
Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath claimed a Home Share project was developed in 2015 as an alternative to traditional services, which sees some children receive more than 30 nights of provision with host families in a home from home environment annually.
However, he said that this was not reflected in the figures provided.