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Many Family Carers Worse Off After Budget 2021

Media Release

Regressive budget fails to deliver on Programme for Government promise of ‘support and recognition’ for family carers.

Following the budget announcement by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Family Carers Ireland (FCI) is deeply concerned that many family carers will be worse off as a result of the measures. A recent ‘State of Caring’ survey* conducted by FCI found that 70% of family carers find it hard to make ends meet and 57% have experienced, or are likely to experience, debt as a result of caring. Read more

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‘The Best of Ireland’ a brand new identity for the cats

Media Release

KILKENNY is set to launch its new branding and website, kilkenny.ie on Friday 9th October under the banner of  “The Best of Ireland”. Well-known across the globe, Kilkenny is synonymous with creativity, heritage, hospitality, food and natural beauty. Following a study of the Kilkenny ‘brand’, the County Council has taken the decision that stakeholders will benefit from the roll out of an umbrella branding for Kilkenny which ultimately communicates all that Kilkenny has to offer.  Read more

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Family Carers Ireland launch First National State of Caring Survey

Public Relations for NGO

public relations media release  

Sample comments from family carers:

I’m getting loans off Peter to pay Paul. It’s impossible to try keep up when there’s more going out than what’s coming in.”

“The heating costs are crippling as the person I care for needs constant heat. We’re not entitled to the Fuel Allowance.” 

“My wife had a physical and mental breakdown as a result of being primary carer for our child. I retired early to look after both and give my wife a chance to recover her health.”

Family Carers Ireland has launched Ireland’s first national State of Caring survey. Completed by 1,250 family carers before the outbreak of COVID-19, the findings paint a stark picture of carers’ lives pre-Covid, with many struggling financially, facing indebtedness, declining health and little access to essential supports.

The startling results found that:

  • 55% of carers have given up paid employment to care for a loved one.
  • 29% of carers live in households with a total income of less than €20,000 per year.
  • 70% of carers find it hard to make ends meet.
  • 57% of carers have experienced or are likely to experience debt as a result of caring.
  • 21% of carers who are struggling financially have cut back on essentials such as groceries and heating.
  • 75% of carers who juggle caring with full-time employment provide over 50 hours of care per week.
  • 75% of carers experienced difficulties accessing services for at least one of the people they care for.
  • 45% of carers surveyed have a long-term illness, health problem or disability

Catherine Cox, Head of Communication and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland commented,

 

‘The research indicates that caring can have significant adverse impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Family carers are more likely to have poorer health and a long-standing disability, illness or health condition. For many families, taking on caring responsibilities results in long-term financial hardship, with the loss of income exacerbated by higher household costs. Without the estimated €10 billion in unpaid care they provide each year, the Irish health service would collapse. Despite the enormity of their contribution, many family carers are going without support. This was exacerbated by this crisis, when family carers continued to care without vital services throughout the emergency.”

During lockdown, the blanket withdrawal of supports such as homecare, respite, personal assistance hours and residential care forced many carers to care alone, around the clock and without the support of extended family or friends. In response, Family Carers Ireland made the decision to extend the State of Caring research to include a special module on carers’ experience of ‘Caring Through Covid’. Some 1,307 family carers responded to this between April and May of 2020.

 

“This report presents both pieces of research, shining a light on carers’ lives before and during Covid-19”, said Dr. Nicky Dunne, Research Officer, Family Carers Ireland. When services shut down, family carers stepped up and continued to care around the clock to ensure that loved ones stayed at home and out of hospital while facing unprecedented levels of risk themselves. Family carers have played a significant role in suppressing the coronavirus and their essential contribution to the national healthcare response needs to be acknowledged.”

The current crisis has made an already difficult situation much worse for family carers. The module, ‘Caring through Covid – Life in Lockdown’ (Independently published in May 2020) explores family carers’ experience of caring during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

86 per cent worry about the cared for person contracting Covid-19 and 84 per cent have concerns about becoming infected themselves and being unable to provide care. 47 per cent reported being unable to access appropriate PPE. Routine medical appointments such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy and the closure of support services led to great concern about the long-term effects of Covid on the cared-for person.  

As part of the ‘State of Caring’ Survey Report, Family Carers Ireland has set out a number of recommendations including recognising family carers as a unique group in Government policy, improving access to Carer’s Allowance and protecting their pension entitlement. The organisation is calling on the Government to deliver a ‘Carers Guarantee’ to provide a basket of services to carers across Ireland, support the mental health and wellbeing of family carers and increase access to respite. It also asks that family carers are recognised as a priority group for COVID-19 testing, given their role in suppressing the virus and supporting the healthcare system.

 Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting those caring for sick, infirm, disabled and older loved ones at home. It offers a range of supports and services for family carers at its 21 resources nationwide or via the freephone careline 1800 24 07 24 and online at

www.familycarers.ie

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Has your puppy got what it takes to be named Petmania Puppy of the Year 2020?

PR Media Release

Amazing prize worth €1,500 for the winning pooch

Petmania, along with sponsors BETA, has launched the hugely popular Puppy of the Year Competition for 2020. The competition will be run entirely online for 2020, with €1,500 worth of prizes to be won by one very lucky puppy. Entries are open from Monday 28th September online at www.petmania.ie. Adorable pooches have just three weeks to enter the competition to be in with a chance of being named Petmania Puppy of the Year. Read more

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FAMILY CARERS CONCERN OVER HSE WINTER INITIATIVE PLAN 2020 

Media Release:

In 2020 The Homecare Coalition called for €123m in additional Home Support Hours. The additional 4.7m Home Support Hours and the Home First Initiative announced in the HSE Winter Plan yesterday will have a combined cost of €138m but are only receiving a qualified welcome from Family Carers Ireland.

However the wider context is important to understand,” says Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland. “Family Carers have been placed under extraordinary pressure during the Covid-19 crisis with many of the supports such as transport and day care services, on which they are so dependent, being reduced or even cancelled. The HSE plan is very clear on GP burnout and putting preventive measures in place. What about the thousands of family carers who are caring 24/7 without essential respite and day care services? What about carer burnout? Whilst this plan attempts to address the significant challenges within our hospitals where is the plan to address the crisis in tens of thousands of family homes. So sadly whilst there may be many things to welcome within the plan it doesn’t change the historical pattern that, in the final analysis, the health system prioritises itself at the expense of family carers.”

 

Family Carers Ireland welcomes the additional 4.7 million home care hours but have grave concerns around the discharge to assess model and how this will work in practice. The plan aims to double existing home support hours to support those with high and moderate levels of frailty, including people with dementia. It also includes the roll out of a single patient assessment tool, and gives clinicians three pathways to support patient discharge back to the community using a discharge to assess model underpinned with a philosophy of home first.  Family Carers Ireland is worried about the additional pressure this will place on our members if other vital supports such as day care services, transport, home care and essential therapies which have been significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated are not reinstated.

 

Ms Cox added,The plan also causes concern with regard to its sharp focus on the rapid turnaround of patients. The Home First Initiative is all about getting patients home and assessing them afterwards. Our fear is families will be pressurised to take their loved one home without any guarantee of supports or appropriate housing aids and therefore we will be advising our members not to co-operate with this model as we believe that an adequate package of home care services must be guaranteed beforehand through an agreed transfer of care protocol.  There is a lot of detailed work required to ensure that yet more burden is not placed on the already exhausted legion of family carers who are doing such vital work to keep the pressure off our health services”.

 

See www.familycarers.ie

 

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Do your ‘cookies’ jar with new legislation

PR Media Release

Media Release:

87 % of Irish businesses unaware of October 6th GDPR deadline

With the October 6th deadline just days away for ‘cookie’ GDPR compliance – a survey* has revealed that 87 per cent of Irish businesses are not aware of the looming cut-off date. Read more

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Happy Workplaces Conference 2020

LEADING international industry experts will share tips on designing and creating a happy workforce as part of this year’s unmissable Happy Workplaces Conference, an online, completely interactive event which runs on Thursday, October 1. Read more

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STAY SAFE WITH CLICK AND COLLECT

Image by Martine Auvray from Pixabay

Online store creates new jobs for pet retailer

Responding to the needs of its customers in the new landscape of retail, Petmania Ireland has introduced a number of safety features to offer its customers flexibility and choices when picking up their essential pet-care and nutritional supplies.

Read more

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Rise in BIN fraud costs Irish online retailers 

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

Increase in Bank Identification Number (BIN) credit card attacks on Irish retail sites

There has been a notable increase in BIN (Bank Identification Number) attacks on Irish ecommerce websites. The ‘charge back’ fees arising from these attacks, which can run into thousands of euro, are the responsibility of the retailer and will be passed directly to them.  Read more

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School spells separation-anxiety for pets | Soothing Pet Products for Panicked Pets

A return to school spells separation-anxiety for pets. The family dog has enjoyed six-months of non-stop affection and uninterrupted access to their humans. As schools reopen this week and many parents return to the workplace – how can we help our pets manage the change of routine? Read more