National Report to Highlight Role of Migrant Carers in the Care of Older People

Thursday, 24 September 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Ireland's older population are being cared for in large numbers by one of the most marginalised groups within the labour force, migrant workers. That is according to a report by NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, being launched today (25 September) by the Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady T.D.. The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies research report examines the role of registered nurses and care assistants from other countries in caring for older people in Ireland. This group now account for one in three of the Irish older adult care workforce, which is twice the proportion of foreign carers in the general health care sector. Written by Dr Kieran Walsh and Professor Eamon O'Shea from the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, the research confirms the important and highly valued role of migrant workers in the care of older people, both in home and long-stay residential care settings. However, the report also highlights a number of issues associated with migrant care provision for older people in Ireland. These include communication, language proficiency, cultural understanding, education and training, discrimination and inadequate regulation. Dr Walsh highlights that: "These issues are intensified by the lack of funding and priority given to older adult care and, in particular, by the absence of support for migrant carers, employers and older people to cope with the cultural shift in the care workforce". The report calls for increased support structures in the areas of regulation, education, training, orientation and integration. According to Professor O'Shea: "It is impossible to separate the fate of migrant care workers from that of older people. There is an irony here that not only are migrant workers marginalised, but they care for older adults in Ireland who are themselves often marginalised in terms of resource allocation. This can only serve to undermine the integration of foreign carers even further. The migrant workforce is not receiving sufficient levels of support to negotiate current and future challenges in the older adult health and social care sector". Professor O'Shea added: "What we need, sooner rather than later, is a prioritisation of the older adult health and social care sector. Our older population require greater person-centred care that acknowledges the role and potential of migrant carers to deliver such care". The challenges that typically face migrant workers in becoming integrated into the health and social care labour market are exacerbated by the low priority given to older adult care in Ireland. The report suggests that failure to appropriately integrate migrant workers into the sector, and to address the key issues of resource allocation and funding in the sector, could ultimately impact on the quality of care available to older people in this country. Dr Walsh explains the role of migrant workers within the care sector: "Both employers and older people recognise the contribution that foreign nurses and care assistants are making to the care of older people. Nevertheless, if issues internal to older adult care are not addressed then retaining this valuable group of workers will become increasingly difficult". The report presents a set of recommendations across policy, practice and regulatory domains to help address the challenges and to capitalise on the opportunities that a multicultural care giving environment brings. In an international element to the research, researchers from the University of Oxford, Georgetown University and the University of Ottawa are investigating the same topic for the UK, US and Canada respectively. An international comparative report detailing some of the differences and commonalities across the four countries will be published later this year. For further information please contact icsg@nuigalway.ie or 091-495461.
Léiríonn Tuarascáil Náisiúnta Ról na gCúramóirí Imirceacha ag Déanamh Cúraim do Dhaoine Scothaosta
(View in English) Is ceann de na grúpaí is imeallaithe sa lucht saothair – na hoibrithe imirceacha – is mó atá ag tabhairt aire do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn. Tháinig an t-eolas seo ó thuarascáil Ionad Sheaneolaíocht Shóisialta na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh a sheolfaidh an tAire do Dhaoine Scothaosta agus Cothú Sláinte, Áine Brady T.D. inniu (25 Meán Fómhair). Scrúdaíonn an tuarascáil taighde The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies ról na n-altraí cláraithe agus na gcúntóirí cúraim a thagann ó thíortha eile chun cúram a dhéanamh do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn. Is ionann na daoine seo agus aon trian de na cúramóirí atá ag daoine scothaosta in Éirinn anois, agus dhá oiread líon na gcúramóirí eachtrannacha in earnáil an chúraim ghinearálta sláinte. Chuir an Dr Kieran Walsh agus an tOllamh Eamon O'Shea ó Ionad Sheaneolaíocht Shóisialta na hÉireann in OÉ Gaillimh an tuarascáil le chéile. Dearbhaíonn an tuarascáil an ról tábhachtach atá ag oibrithe imirceacha i gcúram do dhaoine scothaosta, sa bhaile agus in ionaid chúraim fhadtréimhseacha – ról a bhfuil ardmheas air. Mar sin féin, léirítear sa tuarascáil go mbíonn roinnt fadhbanna le cúram ó oibrithe imirceacha do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn. I measc na bhfadhbanna áirítear cumarsáid, cumas teanga, tuiscint chultúrtha, oideachas agus oiliúint, idirdhealú agus rialáil mhí-oiriúnach. Dúirt an Dr Walsh: "Ní chuidíonn easpa maoinithe agus tosaíochta do chúram scothaosta leis na fadhbanna seo, go háirithe agus an easpa tacaíochta a fhaigheann cúramóirí imirceacha, fostóirí agus daoine scothaosta chun déileáil leis an athrú cultúrtha atá tagtha ar an lucht cúraim". Éilíonn an tuarascáil struchtúr tacaíochta níos fearr maidir le rialáil, oideachas, oiliúint, eolas agus lánpháirtiú. Dar leis an Ollamh O'Shea: "Is í an chinniúint chéanna atá ag cúramóirí imirceacha agus daoine scothaosta beagnach. Ní hamháin go bhfuil oibrithe imirceacha imeallaithe, ach tugann siad cúram do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn atá imeallaithe chomh maith ó thaobh acmhainní a fháil. Ní bhíonn de thoradh air seo ach nach ndéantar cúramóirí imirceacha a lánpháirtiú ar chor ar bith. Níl dóthain tacaíochta á fáil ag oibrithe imirceacha chun déileáil leis na dúshláin atá agus a bheidh san earnáil cúram sláinte agus sóisialta do dhaoine scothaosta. Caithfear tosaíocht a thabhairt don earnáil cúram sláinte agus sóisialta do dhaoine scothaosta. Teastaíonn cúram dírithe ar an duine ó dhaoine scothaosta agus tá an cumas ag cúramóirí imirceacha an cúram sin a chur ar fáil". Ní chuidíonn an easpa tosaíochta a fhaigheann cúram do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn leis na dúshláin a bhíonn le sárú ag oibrithe imirceacha agus iad ag iarraidh lánpháirtiú sa chúram sláinte agus sóisialta. Is léir ón tuarascáil mura ndéantar oibrithe imirceacha a lánpháirtiú mar is ceart san earnáil, agus mura réitítear ceist an mhaoinithe agus na n-acmhainní san earnáil, d'fhéadfadh sé cur isteach ar chaighdeán an chúraim a fhaigheann daoine scothaosta sa tír seo. Mhínigh an Dr Walsh ról na n-oibrithe imirceacha san earnáil: "Tuigeann fostóirí agus daoine scothaosta araon an obair a dhéanann altraí eachtrannacha agus cúntóirí cúraim do dhaoine scothaosta in Éirinn. Mar sin féin, mura réitítear na fadhbanna a bhaineann le cúram do dhaoine scothaosta beidh sé i bhfad níos deacra na hoibrithe luachmhara seo a choinneáil". Tá moltaí déanta sa tuarascáil maidir le polasaí, cleachtas agus rialáil chun déileáil leis na dúshláin agus tairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a chuireann timpeallacht ilchultúrtha cúraim ar fáil. Agus thar lear, tá scrúdú á dhéanamh ag taighdeoirí ó Ollscoileanna Oxford, Georgetown agus Ottawa ar an ábhar céanna don Ríocht Aontaithe, do na Stáit Aontaithe agus do Cheanada. Foilseofar tuarascáil idirnáisiúnta chomparáideach níos deireanaí i mbliana ina mbeidh cur síos ar na difríochtaí agus na cosúlachtaí idir na ceithre thír. Tá eolas breise le fáil ar icsg@nuigalway.ie nó 091-495461.
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