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Families and friends encouraged to safeguard vulnerable adults at Christmas time

Call for ‘Christmas spirit’ in adult safeguarding

Safeguarding Ireland made a Christmas plea today encouraging families and friends to take special care to safeguard vulnerable adults during the festive season.

Chairperson Patricia Rickard Clarke said the spirit of Christmas and good adult safeguarding hold a similar message.

“Good safeguarding is about reaching out and doing what we can to ensure people’s rights, choices and dignity are respected – particularly if they are vulnerable.  Christmas is an opportunity to reflect and ensure that we are properly safeguarding adults in our lives who are vulnerable.”

Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights – and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.

Those most at risk are vulnerable adults such as people with dementia, a brain injury, a mental illness, a learning disability, a physical disability, or a frail elderly person.

“While most families, friends and carers selflessly support loved ones and act in their best interests, unfortunately some don’t. If people suspect any abuse, they should call it out and report it,” Ms Rickard Clarke said.

Read more here

NEW Patient Safety Advocacy Service

In 2015 a HIQA report on Portlaoise Hospital recommended that ”The Department of Health should commence discussions with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to establish an independent patient advocacy service, with a view to having a service in place by May 2016”.  Following a Dept of Health organised tendering process the tender for the development of a Patient Safety Advocacy Service has been awarded to the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS).  Sage Advocacy, which tendered for the service, extends its congratulations to NAS and wishes it well in the challenges it will inevitably now face.  Sage has offered to work with the new service to ensure that patients, whose need for advocacy lies outside the somewhat narrow parameters of the new service, are appropriately supported.
Since its establishment in 2014 Sage has worked in and across all care settings, including acute hospitals, and since July 1st it has been joined by colleagues who previously worked with the patient advocacy service Patient Focus.  

Over 6,000 older people waiting for support to live at home

According to figures released by the HSE through Deputy Stephen Donnelly TD there are 6,324 people waiting on home supports at the end of October 2018. The highest numbers are in Dublin North, followed by Wexford and Galway.

The numbers of people waiting for vital home supports to remain living in their own home have risen since June this year when 5,959 people were on a waiting list. The data from the HSE does not indicate how long a person has been waiting for a service.  However research by Care Alliance Ireland released in October 2018 found that the average wait time is three months, but some people wait up to two years for home supports. The report also highlighted the lack of transparency in how a person’s needs are assessed in the process, and the discrepancies between CHO areas in how supports are provided.

While the Government announced an additional 550 Home Support packages for winter, disappointingly there was no indication of an increase in funding for Home Supports in the overall budget for next year. For the majority of people their preference is to live at home, and for support and care to be provided as required to enable this. While it is Government policy to support older people to remain at home, there is no statutory right to care at home, and current provision is not meeting the growing demand. Sage’s work on long-term care has argued for a continuum of support and care to meet the changing needs of a person over the life course which ensures a good quality of life This requires a range of interventions in the home, in the community, in acute hospitals and in residential care centres and strong linkages between these providers on the continuum.

Patients aged over-75 are blamed as trolley figures soar past 100,000 for year

A surge in patients aged over 75 is fuelling hospital overcrowding, leading to a record 100,000 people lying on trolleys so far this year.

There were 451 patients left on trolleys and chairs across Ireland's hospitals yesterday - bringing the total for 2018 to date to a staggering 100,385, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

In response health officials blamed a growing influx of patients through A&Es with a particular rise among the over-75s.

Read full article here

HSE announces extra 550 homecare packages to minimise trolley crisis

Package to include additional transitional care beds and €4m for aids and appliances

An additional 550 homecare packages are to be provided over the winter period in an effort to minimise the trolley crisis, the HSE has announced.

The extra packages are among a range of measures designed to free up hospital beds by allowing for older people to be moved to stepdown care before Christmas and into the new year. The measure will be funded separately from the €10 million allocated in the budget last month for measures to reduce winter overcrowding in hospitals.

Read full article here

Grand Rounds in Cork

On 5th December Sage Legal Advisor Mary Condell spoke about the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 at the Grand Rounds in Cork University Hospital in December.  Mary is pictured here receiving a Grand Rounds medal from Professor Cillian Twomey and Dr. Michael O’Connor. Sincere thanks to the Social Work Department of CUH for the invitation.

Experts recommend a range of measures to ensure that older people are supported to leave hospital and return to their community.

The Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly TD, announced the publication of the report of a Working Group set up to carry out an independent expert review of delayed discharges.

The review was established in recognition of the need to identify focused actions that will ensure that older people who are fit for discharge from hospital are supported to return to their homes and communities as early as possible.

Read report here

Not-for-profit sector in crisis

6th December - Letter to the Editor

Sir, – The not-for-profit sector is at breaking point. Following more than a decade of underfunding and meeting the cost of a huge growth in regulation, we, who are charged with providing life-changing services to more than 20,000 vulnerable people every year, are fearful for the future. We need urgent action now to future-proof the services so many of our most vulnerable people rely on.

In response to questions raised by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil this week on the issue of funding for Section 39 organisations providing services to people with disabilities, the Taoiseach responded by saying funding to our organisations had in fact been increased and that our organisations should be “well able” to fund services owing to our considerable outside incomes, bequests and assets.

Read letter here

From Shandon to Brandon by Michael Cahillane, Sage Advocacy Regional Coordinator for Cork & Kerry

From Shandon to Brandon providing a Support and Advocacy Service to the peoples of the South west is an amazing opportunity. People of the Rebel County and The Kingdom each with their own idiosyncrasies mainly the language and communication “I will yeah…..” in Cork means I won’t!  While in Kerry when you hear “Yerrah…” it means I’m fine so let me alone for a while to have a think.  Clients and their wishes are Sage’s main priority.

Read Michael's article here


Care package: the French postal workers helping lonely older people

New service allows customers to pay for postal workers to check on their elderly relatives

Nicolas Dezeure drove his yellow post van up the winding single-track road, past fields and olive groves, to an isolated stone house at the top of a hill. Outside the front door, an elderly woman raking fallen leaves welcomed him like a long-lost friend.

“It’s lovely to see the postman as I don’t usually see anyone else all week,” said Janine, 81, as Dezeure handed her a tax bill and an envelope addressed to her husband who died several years ago. She ushered him into her kitchen for a chat.

Read full article here

Results from the 2018 National Patient Experience Survey have been published

Minister for Health, Simon Harris welcomed the results from over 13,000 patients across 40 hospitals documenting feedback on their hospital stay earlier this year.  

26,752 people who were discharged from hospital in May were invited to participate in the survey, the second of its kind in Ireland. In total, 13,404 people took part resulting in a participation rate of over 50%.

The results show 84% of respondents said they had a very good or good experience in our hospitals, with 16% reporting a fair to poor experience.

Read Press Release from the Department of Health here

Click here to read more about the survey results

'Dementia Uncovered' 

Sage Advocacy staff member Michelle Rooney pictured (on left), ‘DEMENTIA UNCOVERED’ - An intriguing exploration of Palliative Care for people with Dementia, hosted by Specialist Palliative Care Regional Educational Working Group in the North East in November.

Michelle delivered a presentation on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, consent and related legislation. The ADM (Capacity) Act is about supporting decision making and maximising a person’s capacity to make decisions. 

Protection of Liberty and the OPCAT

Sage has highlighted the need for protection of liberty safeguards to protect people who may be arbitrarily deprived of liberty in all care settings in Ireland, and has engaged in the Government’s development of legislative safeguards to protect a person’s liberty.  

In 2017 Sage made a submission to the United Nations highlighting concerns about cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of vulnerable adults in Ireland. The submission was made as part of the review of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture  Following the review process in 2017 the UN Committee made several recommendations, one of which related to the independent monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty and recommended that Ireland ratifies the Optional Protocol to the Convention (OPCAT) and establish an independent National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) which complies with the requirements of OPCAT. In November 2018 Sage made a submission as part of this follow up procedure.

OPCAT is an international human rights instrument which aims to prevent ill treatment in any place where a person may be deprived of their liberty, Ireland has yet to ratify this Convention. The role the NPM includes carrying out inspections of all places where a person may be deprived of their liberty, which includes care settings. Our recent submission to the United Nations puts forward that there is an opportunity for Ireland to adopt the broadest interpretation of deprivation of liberty, which is from the perspective of the person and how they experience the restrictions of liberty. There is an opportunity to develop a legislative framework that safeguards a person’s rights where a person may be deprived of their liberty, is de facto detained, or where the conditions a person experiences places significant restrictions on their liberty.

Continuum of Support and Care for Older People

Sage attended the Expert Conference on Housing for Older People hosted by the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD and Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly TD. The Conference brought together experts on the topic to explore housing options to enable people to age with dignity in a home of their choice in accordance with the objectives of Rebuilding Ireland and Sláintecare. The Ministers highlighted the lack of suitable alternatives to long-term care in congregated setting for older people, and it has been highlighted by Professor John Fahey of the School of Social Policy that the dependency on State supports for housing will increase over time.

Sage responded to an invitation to make a submission on the topic to the Departments as part of the development of a policy framework. Sage’s submission was based on our research and policy work on long-term care which puts forward the need for a continuum of support and care to meet the changing needs of a person over their lifetime. To ensure a good quality of life this requires a range of interventions in the home, in the community, in acute hospitals and in residential care centres and strong linkages between these providers on the continuum. To achieve this requires the integration of policies and strategies relating to income maintenance, transport, infrastructural policies, social engagement and education as part of a continuum in recognition that these are factors in maintaining quality of life.


December Edition

The Casebook contains summaries of some of the cases that have recently been examined in the wide range of public sectors under the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction such as agriculture, direct provision, social protection and health. In the health sector the Ombudsman Acts do not allow me for examination of complaints about ‘clinical judgment’ such as diagnosis or courses of treatment. Nonetheless many of the complaints received are about the general care and treatment of patients and a number of recent complaints are summarised in this Casebook.

Click here to read more about health related complaints

European Accessibility Act: Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

Key products and services, like smartphones, ticketing machines and banking services, will have to be made more accessible to people with disabilities.

The new directive, provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Thursday, aims to improve the daily lives of people with disabilities and to encourage businesses to innovate with more accessible products and services.

Around 80 million people in the EU live with a disability to some degree. Due to the ageing of the population, this figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020.

Click here to read Press Release

Helen Fitzgerald graduates with flying colours

Sage Advocacy is so proud to extend our warmest congratulations to Helen on her completion of the MSc in Applied Psychology from Dublin Business School in November.

Helen began with Sage as an intern, was then hired as Administrator, and steadily and competently worked her way towards the role of Recruitment, Information & Compliance Coordinator and Data Protection Officer with Sage.  Helen now holds the position of Regional Coordinator for the Dublin Southeast & Wicklow area.  She has excelled in every task she’s taken on in Sage and improved many areas of work along the way.  Helen has been warmly welcomed by her volunteers in Dublin Southeast and Wicklow and has already built a strong Sage presence in the area amongst clients and stakeholders alike. 

Best wishes to Helen on her well-deserved success and wishing her many more triumphs in all her endeavours.


New findings from TILDA in a new Report - Health and Wellbeing of Ireland’s over 50s 2009 / 2016

New findings by TILDA (the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity College Dublin) present the ‘Change in life circumstances’ for Ireland’s over 50s between 2009 and 2016. Chapters on health, quality of life, social engagement, living conditions, and health utilisation are included. This report includes the findings of the Wave 4 of data collection, along with results from the analysis of the combined data from Wave 1 – Wave 4.

This is the first report from TILDA with a focus on the ‘Change in life circumstances’ of participants since their first interview seven years ago. It highlights a number of important issues that are having a significant impact on the physical health, mental health and well-being of adults over 50 in Ireland and which also have a substantial impact on the current and future health system.

Read report


And finally, the version that won't offend anyone...but sounds appalling!

Fairytale of New York

It was a religious festival partner, always drink responsibility
A senior citizen was inebriated near me, he then breached a nuisance law
Singing songs after 9pm, I turned my face away, And secretly reported him
Gambling is addictive, it shouldn’t be glamourised
I have a feeling, this year’s for me and you
So season’s greetings, I love you as an equal
All these lyrics have been checked, and they’re now politically correct
We’ve had a lot of complaints about this song
We’ve cleaned it right up, Happy Birthday Shane McGowan
They’ve got cars big as coffee shops, they’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind blows right through you, it’s perfectly fine for all ages
When you first took my hand on that cold religious holiday
You misinformed me about my acting potential
You were handsome, you were pretty in a completely gender fluid way
When the band finished playing we got our coats and went home
Sinatra had many partners, people were tired and emotional
We were behaviourally challenged, we said goodnight and good luck
The boys and girls of the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were at an anti-social time so I made a complaint
Not having that, we can’t have bells on at this time of night
Change all the rude bits
You’re a bottom, you’re impaired, you’re a lady of the night
Lying there in an unavailable hospital bed
You bold boy, you insect, you cheap lousy bundle of sticks
You’ll hear from my solicitor, I’m highly offended
The boys and girls of the NYPD choir still singing Galway Bay
And the bells were at an anti-social time so I made another complaint
Not having it, happy season’s greetings, other religions are available
This version is technically better than Ronan Keating’s
And that’s saying something

Watch Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl's original here

Other Media Articles of Interest


Court dismisses HSE concerns over family's decision to install CCTV in elderly mother's home
The president of the High Court has dismissed concerns by the HSE that a family’s installation of CCTV cameras in their elderly mother’s home with a view to ensuring appropriate care of her amounts to abuse.
Enabling vulnerable victims to report crime
Having gardaí respond appropriately to intellectually disabled complainants is a major factor in shaping their experience of the criminal justice system, writes Alan Cusack.
Support service for older people launched in Kilkenny by Minister Boxer Moran
Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran launched ALONE’s services in Carlow and Kilkenny in the Parade Tower last week.
We must embrace old idea of working longer
Finding ways to encourage, incentivise and promote employment among older people are policies worth debating and pursuing in Ireland, writes Joe Gill.
Abortion services available from January 1, but will be limited, Harris admits
Termination of pregnancy services will be available in Ireland from January 1 - but it will be a limited service, Health Minister Simon Harris has admitted.
Leo Varadkar says that the HSE is unfit for purpose in current form
The Taoiseach outlined his thoughts when pressed on the current state of the Health Service Executive.
Home help cuts are an 'accident waiting to happen'.
Cuts in homecare hours at a time when more people with complex needs are crying out for the service is a "serious accident waiting to happen", it was claimed yesterday.
Islands Primary Care review recommends island proofing government policy
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Government policy needs to be ‘island proofed’ to take account of the impact on island residents in Galway and other island communities.
Alzheimer society calls for extra funding for dementia
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has called for more resources to be made available to fund more services for dementia which it says is urgently needed.
Offaly TD says people are put off by complex Fair Deal Scheme
Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has criticised the complexity of the Fair Deal Scheme and called for an overhaul of the application process to make it more accessible to older people and their families.
Delayed discharges are leading to infections, falls and overcrowding
PATIENTS WHOSE DISCHARGE is delayed experience unnecessarily long stays in hospital, sometimes leading to infections, general physical deconditioning and/or other adverse outcomes, such as falls.
Scientists say Alzheimer vaccine could soon be tested on patients
A vaccine against Alzheimer's has come a step closer to reality after scientists succeeded in preventing the build-up of toxic brain proteins linked to the disease.
Minister's call for overhaul of care for the elderly welcomed
Nursing home providers have welcomed a call by a junior minister that care for the elderly should be overhauled over the next two decades and retirement villages rolled out.
Fianna Fáil calls for 7-days-a-week home care packages for elderly people
Fianna Fáil has demanded the Government introduces around-the-clock seven days a week home care packages for elderly people in need amid serious fears over their health and safety this winter.
'Bed blockers' left in hospital as families dodge Fair Deal
New rules are needed to clamp down on families trying to dodge the Fair Deal scheme and leave their elderly relatives in hospital beds.
Carers group to host day-long conference to discuss ongoing crisis in stretched sector
Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly and HSE National Director of Human Resources Rosarii Mannion will both attend.
Most HSE staff not briefed on open disclosure
Just one in five health and social care workers has been formally briefed on the HSE’s open disclosure policy, and only one in 25 has attended a training workshop — five years after patients were assured the policy would be standard practice.

Nursing home costs and Fair Deal
We were told by the HSE that it didn’t matter, in any case, which payment method one used, Fair Deal or cash, as we would not pay any more than the full nursing home fee. Is this not true?
Elderly man living in 'squalid and dangerous' conditions to go to nursing home, court orders
The orders apply pending an inquiry as to whether the man, aged in his seventies, should be made a ward of court.
Health inequality hitting middle earners, EU study shows
People without private insurance but who earn too much for medical card losing out.
Limerick man jailed for extorting father and holding him captive
Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the victim impact statement “reads like a cry for help for his son” and that what happened was an enormous breach of trust. “This was elder abuse of the highest order, it involved control and determination at every turn,” he said.
Ireland ranked first in Europe for palliative care of breast cancer patients
Ireland has the best palliative care for breast cancer patients in Europe though services for women with the disease lack patient focus, an EU-wide comparison suggests.
I’m a GP. Here’s what the cervical cancer controversy taught me
Prof Susan Smith: To prevent further tragedy, we must understand how the system failed.

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Sage Advocacy clg · 24-26 Ormond Quay Upper · Dublin, Co. Dublin D07 DAV9 · Ireland