Irish Wheelchair Association estimates that over 60% of individuals currently receiving personal assistant services or home support, require significantly more hours than they’re receiving.
There is a vacuum of verified data in relation to the number of people, who actually require this service.
We are one of the largest providers of assisted living services for people with physical disabilities in Ireland, which is funded by the HSE. Assisted Living Services, carried out by skilled personal assistants, is the cornerstone, foundation and life blood of community services for people with disabilities.
This service assists with tasks that people with disabilities cannot do for themselves and supports people to engage fully in their communities, to live independently, progress with further education and for many to take up employment.
Personal Assistants provide the arms and legs for people with disabilities and are essential to ensure that they can live equal and independent lives alongside their peers.
Individuals who receive a sufficient personal assistant service can:
- Live independently.
- Participate in everyday activities similar to their peers e.g. work, social, sports.
- Contribute financially and through participation to Irish society.
Individuals who don’t receive a personal assistant service can be:
- Dependent on family members, often ageing parents, to support them, removing their opportunity to live with dignity.
- Individuals living in environments, which are unsafe due to their disability.
- Confined to live behind their own front door, never having the opportunity to interact with their community.
- Individuals who have no opportunity to participate in society or take up employment.
- Can end up living in residential care against their preferred wishes.
Personal assistant services have continuously been ignored by consecutive governments with no meaningful additional funding being put in place to support the growing needs and demand for the service.
The Government must:
- Commit to carrying out a comprehensive piece of work involving the Central Statistics Office to establish the unmet need for the personal assistant service.
- Allocate a budget for the personal assistant service that prioritises people with disabilities to have their quality of life based on their rights and choices over available funding.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 19 states that: ‘Persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance.