Carers – forgotten frontline workers. After having many conversations with Alison Metcalfe from HCA and Carers Ireland we got more involved in what is happening in the world of home carers. We’d like to acknowledge the hard time that carers are going through during Covid-19.
Being a carer can be a thankless job, whether you are caring for someone you love at home or caring in a professional role. The job is so demanding and there is just no reward for our Carers.
Right now, there around 355,000 family carers in Ireland but the number could be so much higher. There is an issue around self-identification. This happens where a carer thinks they are not a carer because they are a parent, guardian, or partner. Family Carers have been left to look after their loved ones when services closed. This has a negative effect on the carer’s mental health and in some cases their physical health.
Unlike in nursing homes, the home care sector did not have a crisis in terms of virus spread. A major problem that impacted the entire sector was the loss of clients who were advised to cocoon.
Significant Income Loss Due to Covid-19
Some carers experienced significant income loss due to Covid-19. This is either due to cancelled hours or having to self-isolate after being a close contact of a client who tested positive.
Cancellation of clients had a huge impact on providers. According to Joseph Musgrave, chief executive of the representative body for private for-profit providers, Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI). HCCI represents around 80 providers in Ireland who care for 20,000 people and employ 10,000 carers.
No Guarantee of Hours
The biggest problem in the community is that carers are not guaranteed their hours.
In addition to this and low pay many carers are not compensated for either travel time or mileage costs.
Alison Metcalfe from HCA and Carers Ireland said “We have a shortage of carers because it’s an unattractive career,” “It’s a low rate of pay, you don’t get paid for travel, you’re spending most of your time driving.”
She added that “there is one way to ensure that carers are treated well with good terms and conditions of employment, and that’s to regulate the system”.
We wish Alison and her team from HCA and Carers Ireland the very best in getting what each carer deserves in terms of pay and recognition. Cares – forgotten frontline workers
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