2,000 in NI waiting for home care packages from health trusts
Around 2,000 people in Northern Ireland are currently waiting for domiciliary care packages, it has been revealed.
he Belfast Trust accounts for 40% of the overall total waiting list with its spokesperson revealing that the average waiting time is 55 days.
Care packages are typically taken up by elderly, vulnerable or disabled people who need help with daily tasks such as dressing, washing or cooking.
BBC Radio Ulster reported on Monday that it connected Northern Ireland’s five health trusts after the family of an elderly man said he had been waiting for a care package for more than three weeks.
In the Belfast Trust, 790 people are on the waiting list – up by 150 compared to two years ago, while the Northern Trust, the number currently waiting is 345. In 2016 the figure was 146.
Meanwhile, the Southern Trust has 295 and the South Eastern Trust the number is 282.
The figure for the Western Trust is 197.
In response, the trusts told the BBC the consequences of the pandemic had a “significant” impact on implementing care packages due to higher number of hospital admissions.
This has created a need for community services to prioritise discharges to enable hospital beds to be freed up.
Trusts are also facing “unprecedented” challenges with staff having to self-isolate, as well as taking “much-needed” annual leave.
The Belfast Trust apologised to all families that have been impacted by care package delays, and all trusts said they understood the frustration of loved ones
Staff are working hard to alleviate the situation, it said.