Very often when homecare is spoken about it is assumed to be care for the elderly. However, the HSE has a very significant spend on disability services of around €1.8B. Presently the majority of this, around €1B, is spent on residential and day care services which caters for just 1.3% of people with disabilities.

The Governments stated policy is to facilitate the movement of disabled people from residential settings back into the community. The launch last year of Minister McGrath's report on Personal Budgets is also further proof of a change of policy, where we will see an increased spend on home care within the disabilities sector.

For many disabled people, their preferred method of receiving care in the community is through a personal budget and within personal budgets, as a direct payment.

Minister McGrath’s report has called for the setting up of three pilot schemes to test how personal budget’s might be accessed by people with disabilities.

  1. Person-managed fund, often referred to as direct payments
  2. Co-Managed fund with a service provider
  3. Broker managed fund

We in Home Care Direct are delighted to be taking part in the Government's direct payments pilot through the provision of personal assistants on our platform. The provision of personal assistant services we feel, is the best way for many disabled people to gain the independence and control they want, which in turn enables them to live the lives they desire.

Presently only 0.3% of disabled people get a personal assistant service but our hope is to increase these numbers significantly by providing a supply of vetted and trained personal assistants on our platform but more importantly by making it easy for disabled people to recruit and manage their own personal assistant.

Key to this, is removing the need for the disabled person to become an employer and the associated cost and effort, while at the same time ensuring they retain full control.

Our platform Home Care Direct does this in a tax compliant, hassle free manner, as well as providing appropriate insurance cover.

We can facilitate people receiving support from an existing service provider, to changeover to a direct payment situation where they are in control and contracting directly with their own PAs. This could also include transitioning over existing staff.

We estimate a service user can get an extra 25% hours of support by moving to the Home Care Direct platform from a traditional disabilities service provider. In addition, we estimate that the personal assistants can earn over 50% more which importantly means a more motivated and proactive assistant, as well as better continuity of support.

Personal budgets need to become more widespread within the disability sector and in order to facilitate this, we will need more funding and better supports for disabled people wishing to avail of them.