Impact of Day Service closures on older people in Kerry

Press Release: 20th August 2020

The National Office for Services for Older People and Palliative Care Strategy recently commissioned research to look at the impact of the closure of Day Services on service users, carers for people with dementia and the service providers.

The final report on that research is available here

The research also looked at the benefits of receiving new  repurposed services and the role of the NGO sector  which has been central in supporting older people during the COVID pandemic in delivering essential services. This research was done in collaboration with the Community Work Department in Kerry and clients from a sample of day services in Kerry participated in phone interviews as part of the research.

The key findings are:

  • The closure of day services had a clear impact on existing clients- 86% stating they miss the company, one in five clients express a feeling of loneliness or isolation as a result of the closure of the Day Services.
  • New repurposed services ( including the provision of MOWs/ telephone calls, laundry service etc) are having a positive impact on quality of life of the clients with one in two clients availing of new repurposed services.
  • There is a high level of confidence and desire to return to services- 90% would be happy to return to Day Services once restrictions are lifted.
  • In addition to the existing clients there is also a new cohort of clients who have now established a need for some of the services being provided as a result of COVID. They have benefited from the repurposed services particularly the MOWs and 91% of clients interviewed expressed a desire to continue with this service in the future.
  • For carers of those with dementia the research unsurprisingly found that the closure of services has had a negative impact both on the person with dementia and the carer themselves. The clients are missing the social interaction, personal care and routine and the carers are missing the respite and are feeling the stress associated with this.
  • Day Service providers highlighted the positives of repurposing and being able to support people to remain connected and also the challenges in restoring services while maintaining new re purposed services.

This research highlights the important role Day Services and the Community and Voluntary sector play in supporting older people and their families in the community. It also highlighted how the re purposed services helped maintain people to remain well at home during the COVID situation. The impact of the closure of the day services has been significant and this research is important to support in planning both the future needs of clients and of the services that have been critical in maintaining core essential support mechanisms for older people during COVID 19.

Last updated on: 20 / 08 / 2020