Homecare for elders in dire state, comptroller reports

Only 30% of homecare workers have proper training.

Elderly couple (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Elderly couple (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Home care sponsored by the state has failed the elderly in a wide range of areas, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira said in a special report on the issue on Sunday.
One major issue is that the National Insurance Institute does not ensure that home care workers are trained for their positions.
Rather, it simply depends on companies that deploy home care workers to ensure they are properly trained – which the report says often is not the case.
In fact, the report said that only 30% of home care workers have proper training.
Shapira said this means the requirement for even minimal training “is essentially dead.”
This means that in a job that is already difficult in terms of respectfully dealing with the special needs of the elderly, many home care workers are unprofessional and do not have the tools to give proper care.
Some 116 home care companies are operating with around 80,000 Israeli home care workers and around 37,000 foreign home care workers.
Next, the report said 40% of the elderly do not get all of the hours of home care they are approved for.
The comptroller explained that many elderly persons do not understand their rights and irrationally cancel hours out of concern that they may not have enough hours to handle a later unexpected emergency.
This leaves many elderly often without the care they need.
Even worse, there is widespread fraud by some home care workers who submit reports that they provided more home care hours than they actually did – some even working at two locations simultaneously.
Further, the report said that “the state’s authorities are in practice abandoning family members and leaving them to cope with the burden connected with caring for elderly” family members.
The NII has agreed in principle that it should pay for more home care hours, but has not done so in practice.
Shapira also criticized the NII for failing to ensure that the Health and Social Services ministries are providing all of the services required.
Another problem is that only a very small number of elderly take advantage of special centers for promoting activities for the elderly.
The report said many elderly persons were too poor or faced another obstacle in being able to travel to the center’s events.
The report is based on the comptroller’s survey of 300,000 persons, including in-depth surveys of 687 persons.
All these issues are due to only get worse in the future. With all of the problems with elderly home care, the state was already spending NIS 5.8 billion on 165,000 elderly persons in 2016.
By 2035, the number of elderly persons eligible for home care is projected to jump to 361,000.