A crisis in home care is looming, according to Chief Executive of Age Action Paddy Connolly.

The advocacy group for older people is calling for a "national-level response" to the removal of home care from some users.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Seán O'Rourke Mr Connolly said he is concerned about possible national inconsistencies in the decisions to remove these packages from some people, and not from others.

"The concern is that there would be consistency, that if you're removing care that there would be an assessment carried out.

"There needs to be a national level response to this.

"One of the things to remember is that it took the Government a month to respond to the nursing home crisis and we're concerned that there is a looming crisis in home care.

"There needs to be a national level response before pressures start to put home care in crisis."

The home care system is dependent on 195,000 family carers, 1,800 of whom, he said, are over 70.  

He added that 7,000 people are on waiting lists for home care after being assessed, and he said "we don't know how many are waiting for assessment."

Understandably, he said, 25-30% of home care users cancelled their care in light of Covid-19 fears.

There is concern too, Mr Connolly said, that these people who need home care are now relying on family members after having reduced their care over Covid-19 fears.

He said the Health Service Executive has said it will reassess what he called those who are at level 3 and 4 - who are considered less at risk "to ensure that those who have refused their care or had their care withdrawn, that there is an assessment carried out to make sure that they are not a particular risk."

Mr Connolly outlined an example of a woman who is a wheelchair user, who is the main carer for her husband, who also uses a wheelchair.

"She received a letter saying: 'Dear service provider, your care has been withdrawn'.

She had already reduced her care to two days a week. It means now that there is no one to provide for her husband's intimate care needs. They are both over 70, both are supposed to be cocooning."

Mr Connolly said: "When you get a letter that says 'Dear Service provider', that it is not personalised, that says to me that that may be standard letter that is being issued and that is a real concern if that is the case."

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