The representative body for private home care organisations has called on Minister for Health James Reilly to support a higher take-up of home support over residential care.

Home and Community Care Ireland says the cost of a hospital bed is around €800 a night compared with about €185 a day to keep someone at home.

It says that home care is an alternative that is preferred by most care recipients and is cost-effective.

Over 6,000 people around the country receive private home care amounting to 78,000 hours a week.