Home Support Service

If as a result of your condition, you are having difficulty in carrying out normal household chores, you are entitled to avail of home support services. If your normal household responsibilities include cooking for a family, cleaning the family home or looking after children, the home support service can cover any or all of these duties. Access to home support services is available to both male and female HAA cardholders on production of supporting documentation from your general practitioner or consultant. Supporting documentation should be forwarded to the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer.

The number of hours of home support to be provided is based on your needs and that of your family. The support provided should also be flexible, and fit in with your particular circumstances. For example, cardholders with school-going children might require additional support during the school holidays, or patients undergoing anti-viral therapy might need more support during this time. Home support services can be provided at evenings, weekends or bank holidays in exceptional circumstances, but only if the nature of the support required means that it cannot be provided during normal working hours. Home support provided out of hours is usually paid at premium rates – however, if the reason why the support is provided out of hours is to facilitate your home support worker (for example a family member who is otherwise engaged Monday to Friday) rather than because of your condition, then the premium rate does not apply.

Basically there are 2 options open to you when accessing home support services. You can request the HSE via your Liaison Officer to arrange for the provision of home support service or you can decide to directly employ a person of your choice.

If you opt for a home support service as provided by the HSE, either the Public Health Nurse or Home Help Organiser (depending on the HSE area) will liaise directly with you to ensure that your needs are met.

You should be aware that your home support worker may be made aware by the HSE that you have Hepatitis C, but will be obliged to maintain the confidentiality of this information and any breach of this would result in disciplinary action by the HSE.

The HSE are obliged to provide you with a suitable service, and the onus is not on you to find a home support worker for yourself. Even if you do source your own home support worker, the HSE may be prepared to undertake the role of employer on your behalf and to pay the worker directly but this should be discussed with your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer in the first instance.

IMPORTANT note re employing your own home support worker/workers.

If you wish to employ your own home support person, you can do so, on the understanding that you will be responsible for fulfilling the usual employer’s requirements, in relation to P.R.S.I., TAX and Public Liability Insurance. The onus will also be on you to advise your home support worker/workers of your medical condition.

This is a serious legal responsibility and you should think carefully before you take it on. Because of this, the preferred option is that your HSE area undertakes the direct sourcing, employment and payment of your home support worker. If you decide to go ahead and employ someone yourself, the HSE will pay the home support grant to you directly and you will be responsible for paying your home support worker yourself. All HSE areas will require a regular return from cardholders confirming that the specified hours of home support have been undertaken. On receipt of these signed details, payment will be made at the appropriate rates.

Home support workers are paid on the home help national payscale rates. Details on these rates of pay are available from www.dohc.ie/publications/salaryscales

If you have any queries about any aspect the home support service, you should contact your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer directly.

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