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ESTABLISHING AN OBSERVATORY ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN LONG TERM CARE July 22, 2022

Sage Advocacy has launched a new research project that could help to improve the lives of thousands of people throughout Ireland who need long term support services. 

The Establishing an Observatory on Human Rights in Long-Term Care project will examine and explore what the key human rights issues are for people who receive long-term care and support services. 

The Project will also examine how such an Observatory can contribute to highlighting and addressing human rights abuses where these occur.

The project, funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, aims to give people who experience long-term care and support services, their families and supporters an opportunity to have their voices heard and to make an important contribution to new, future models of care. 

There are thousands of people in Ireland who, for a variety of reasons require, long-term care and support every day including an estimated 55,000* people who currently receive home support services and approximately 32,000 people who live in nursing homes. 

Sarah Lennon, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy said: “We know from our advocacy work that Covid-19 exposed the dangerous architecture that exits in Ireland in relation to our current systems of care and support. There are important and crucial lessons that this country must learn from the pandemic. 

“And now is the right time to ask important questions about our current systems of care and support particularly in relation to whether it is rights-focused?  

For example, does it offer individuals choice - do people have the right to be safe, to enjoy family-life, to have dignity, autonomy, and self-determination whether in the home, in a nursing home or any other environment?”   

The Establishing an Observatory on Human Rights in Long-Term Care project will examine and explore what the key human rights issues are for people who receive Long-Term Care and support services- from a both a health and social care- needs perspective but also from the broader issues of equality, social inclusion, safeguarding and the right to self-determination. 

Ms Lennon added: “This project is the first step to establishing an Observatory that will identify and evaluate what components are necessary to develop a rights-based approach to long-term care and support in Ireland.” 

Sage Advocacy said the Observatory on Human Rights in Long-Term Care project will also seek to inform and to contribute to the Government’s proposed Commission on Care and push for it to use a human-rights approach to reviewing and designing future models of care and support.   

The national support and advocacy organisation is now encouraging people who experience long-term care and support services, their families and supporters to get involved in the research project. 

 Sage Advocacy wants to hear people who are receiving long term care and support currently, who may have returned to their own home from a nursing home and are receiving care and support services or also from family members who have first-hand experience of the current care and support system to get in touch with them.  

Anyone can get involved in the Observatory on Human Rights in Long-Term Care project by directly contacting the project co-ordinator, Niamh Delany by email: niamh.delany@sageadvocacy.ie or by calling 087 9609419.  

 Ms Delany said: “On Sage Advocacy’s website www.sageadvocacy.ie you can find information about the Observatory on Human Rights in Long-Term Care project. 

“We would like to hear from anyone who is receiving care and support services whether at home or in a nursing home or who has previously received care or support services. 

“On our website there is a questionnaire where people can share their experiences with Sage Advocacy. 

“We would also like to hear from family members or loved ones who have experience of the care and support systems who can participate in an online survey. 

“We can assure everyone who gets involved in this research project that they will be helping to drive change from a human rights perspective and by doing so help to improve the lives of people in Ireland who require long-term care.” 

  Notes:

*See Ceisteanna ar Pholasaí nó ar Reachtaíocht - Questions on Policy or Legislation – Dáil Éireann (33rd Dáil) – Wednesday, 1 Jun 2022 – Houses of the Oireachtas 

The Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission has provided a grant to Sage Advocacy under the Human Rights & Equality Grant Scheme 2021-22 to fund a project called “Establishing an Observatory on Rights-based Long-Term Care in Ireland”.  (For further details see here: Human Rights and Equality Grants 2021 Announced - IHREC - Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

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