(Written by Marcella McBride, Social Worker, Louth Autism Team)
Home Support is a service administered through the Disability Services Team within the Health Services Executive.
Home Support is a service administered through the Disability Services Team/Autism Teams within the Health Services Executive. It varies widely from county to county how this is administered and there are variations to the rules in each area. It is best to contact your team or social worker to understand how Home Support is applied in your area.
All families who have a family member with a disability living with them and who are known to one of the teams are entitled to an assessment for the service. The assessment is carried out by the social worker on the team. This entails discussion around what support services exist for the family and within their extended family and in the wider community, what particular care needs the individual with a disability has and how home support might alleviate the situation. For some families home support is provided to give parents/carers a break, to spend time with other children in the family or to allow a parent to follow a particular programme by freeing them up to work with the person with disability.
Home support workers have been employed to work with a child on a particular structured activity programme or in a social activity/befriending programme with a young person. Whatever support the family has had can be discussed with the social worker. In some cases home support workers help with housework.
The home support arrangement is reviewed on a regular basis by the social worker. This allows for discussion on any difficulties or issues that have arisen any training needs that have been identified and any changes to the hours or arrangement in general.
Home support workers do not work bank holidays except in exceptional circumstances. They have annual leave and sickness entitlement. During such leave, there is generally no replacement home support.
The home support worker can be nominated by the family and in certain circumstances a relative can be used. Otherwise the social worker recruits a home support worker preferably within a close distance of the family home.
Home support workers are not paid mileage unless they are working for several families. They pay tax and insurance and in some instances if receiving benefit can work up to 10 hours home support each week without affecting their benefit.
Preschool assistants provided to work with a child in pre-school are paid from the home support budget.
In some instances home support workers have accompanied families on holidays whereby an agreement was made as to how many hours were being paid for and from which budget.
Home support workers are not allowed to look after the child or young person they are caring for in their own home nor are they allowed to take them in their car.
You can also apply to your local Public Health Nurse or Social Worker for Home Support.
Contact your Local Health Centre