Thousands of suspended domiciliary care packages in Northern Ireland will be reinstated when users are ready, the Department of Health has said.
Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch, told the BBC the resumption of services that were suspended to limit the spread of coronavrius should not be delayed.
The Commissioner said: “The immediate thing has to be that people get the package back that they had previously.
“There can be no delay in putting that back in place.”
Almost three quarters of the domiciliary care services to 24,000 people in Northern Ireland are delivered by private providers.
Figures obtained by the BBC show almost 1,000 clients in the Western Trust area suspended their packages, with 3,000 suspensions in the four other trust areas.
While acknowledging that many families suspended care packages because they were “out of work and wanted to protect their loved ones from any possible Covid infection”, Mr Lynch added: “If somebody has received a package previously, that package should be reinstalled immediately.
“If any reassessment has to take place, it can do so at a later date, because people may need increased needs going forward as well, so it’s very important that nobody loses out on a care package that they’ve been granted and that that care package is put back in place as soon as possible.”