Carers Support

The HSE recognises the valuable contribution of carers who care for family members, relatives and friends. The 2011 census recorded 187,112 carers in Ireland.   

  • A carer is described as someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of care in the home due to illness or disability or frailty.

The HSE provides health services directly and also funds voluntary organisations to provide supports and services to individuals and their Carers. Your local Primary Care Team is an invaluable source of information, advice and practical help to support you in your caring role.  The care that family and other carers provide involves looking after the needs of people with a wide range of care and support needs across all age groups. The type of care provided could include, personal care, such as bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, preparing meals, helping with feeding, cleaning, shopping and companionship. The support from the carer enables the persons they are caring for remain at home for as long as safe and practical.  

Carer's Emergency Card
Carry the Carer's Emergency Card so that in case you have an accident or are taken ill, then the details on the card can be used to make sure the person you care for is looked after.

Are you a Young Carer?

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‘Young Carers are children and young people aged under 18 with caring responsibilities who generally provide care for their immediate family such as parents, siblings or grandparents.’ 

If you are a young carer talk to the health professional who cares for your relative, or tell your teacher or a trusted family friend. It's important for you to get support to help you have fun, continue your schooling and care for your relative. For support and information on activities, social networking and meeting other young carers safely, contact Young Carers 1800 24 07 24 www.youngcarers.ie

Are you a new carer?
‘Whether you are a new or recent carer or have been caring for some time we hope that this section will provide signposts to relevant information to support you in your caring role.  

Do you need information on medical equipment, aids and appliances
A health professional will undertake a needs assessment of the service user to identify any equipment requirements. To find out more contact your Local Health Office

How can I access Respite (short term residential care) services?
Respite services are provided to individuals following an assessment of health needs of the individual user and subject to the resources available. To find out more about respite services contact your local primary care team/ public health nurse or local health office. Get Information on Respite Services from your Local Health Office here

How Health Services are organised:
The HSE delivers health services through six hospital groups and nine community health areas called Community Health Organisations (CHOs) across the country.

Acute Hospitals
 Acute Hospitals provide inpatient scheduled care, unscheduled/emergency care, maternity services, outpatient and diagnostic services.

Community Health Organisations
Community Health Organisations support people who are dependent at home, and also the family and informal carers who look after them. Core Support Services are made available through Primary Care Teams which includes GPs, Public Health Nurses, Physiotherpaists,  Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Home Care Services, including end of life care. The HSE also provides long term and short term residential services for specifc client groups.

The HSE operates the Nursing Home Support Scheme, to provide financial assistance towards the cost of long term residential care services. The HSE administers 'the Fair Deal scheme in line within the resources available and in line with the Nursing Home Support Scheme legislation.

Information on services for specific care groups and carers information

Are you concerned about the safety or welfare of an adult or child?
In an emergency, where a person is at immediate risk, you should contact the Gardai or Emergency Services on 999 or 112. The HSE has a dedicated Safeguarding and Protection Team Service, with Senior Case Workers working in each Community Health Organisation.  
If you are concerned about the welfare or safety of an adult or want to get help, contact your local Safeguarding and Protection Team or call the HSE Information Line on 1850 24 1850 or 041 685 0300 (Monday to Saturday 8am to 8pm) or email infoline1@hse.ie.

If you are concerned about the safety or welfare of a Child (under 18) contact Tusla, the Child & Family Agency www.tusla.ie

Caring for someone who cannot manage their own affairs

Wards of Court
If a person with substantial assets is unable to manage their own affairs due to mental incapacity, an application can be made through a solicitor to have the person made a Ward of Court. If there is no family, sometimes the HSE makes the application. A committee (one or more people, usually the family) is appointed by the Court to manage the affairs of the Ward. The person then becomes a Ward of Court. All applications are processed through The Wards of Court Office (01 888 6189). Approximately 30% of all applications to the court involve people with dementia.  Learn more about Wards of Court  

Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015
The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act was passed by the Oireachtas in December 2015.  It is due to be commenced by Ministerial Order in 2016. This Act applies to everyone and has relevance for all health and social care services.

The Key features of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act are:

  • It applies to everyone and to all health and social care settings.
  • It provides for the individual’s right of autonomy and self-determination to be respected through an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive – made when a person has capacity to come into effect when they may lack decision-making capacity.
  • It provides for legally recognised decision-makers to support a person maximise their decision making powers.
  • It places a legal requirement on service providers to comprehensively enable a person make a decision through the provision of a range of supports and information appropriate to their condition.
  • It abolishes the Wards of Court system. 
  • It provides for a review of all existing wards to either discharge them fully or to transition those who still need assistance to the new structure.
  • It repeals the Lunacy regulations governing the Ward of Court system.
  • It establishes a Decision Support Service with clearly defined functions which will include the promotion of public awareness relating to the exercise of capacity by persons who may require assistance in exercising their capacity. 
  • The Director of the Decision Support Service will have the power to investigate complaints in relation to any action by a decision-maker in relation to their functions as such decision-maker.

For further information see  Citizens Information - Incapacity or get legal advice.

Where can I find information on training courses that might help me with my caring role?
The HSE and voluntary providers provide information, advice and support for carers in Ireland. Education and training can contribute to easing the burden at home as well as establishing, maintaining and improving standards of care. The HSE  and some of the HSE funded voluntary organisations provide training for carers.  For information on training for carers in your area contact your local Primary Care Team / Public Health Nurse and relevant voluntary organisations.

FInd out more Family Carers Ireland, The  Alzheimers Society of Ireland  or the voluntary organisations.

I am interested in joining a Carers Group in my area – where can I get this information?
Family Carers Ireland has a network of carer groups across the country. Find local Family Carers Ireland - Network of Carer Group

Your local health office may also have local information on specific groups in your area. Find your Local Health Office