Information about Social Care Division

Who we are

The Social Care Division was established to support ongoing service requirements of older people and people with disabilities. It is a fundamental step in moving forward with the design and implementation of models of care across both these Care Groups to support and maintain people to live at home or in their own community and to promote their independence and lifestyle choice in as far as possible.

Disability Services

In Ireland one in 10 adults of working age (13% of the population) report at least one disability (Census 2011). Volume of demand across all types of services including residential and respite has increased. In excess of 36% of residential service users are aged 55 years or older. This has increased from 17% in 1996. Of residential service users aged 35 years, 49% present with moderate, severe and profound disability. This has increased from 38% in 1996. National databases indicate a requirement to change or upgrade 14,996 existing supports, over two-thirds of which are required in day services.

Services for Older People

The population aged 65 years and over is growing, leading to an increased need for services. In 2017 there will be almost 30,000 carers aged 65 years or older providing informal care with the biggest rise in the over 75 years age group. This group is at the greatest risk of developing health problems and greater support is required. Those aged over 65 in acute hospitals display more complex needs and in acute hospital transition require more specific services including rehabilitation, home care, day care and re-ablement programmes to support them to live well and independently in their own homes and communities. The provision of appropriate home care and community based services can prevent unnecessary admissions to acute facilities and delay long stay care admission.

To Find out more about who we are

Further information in relation to the services social care deliver are provided on the HSE Website


Social Care Mission

Find out more about our mission

HSE Corporate Plan:

Role and function

Social care services are focused on:

  • Enabling people with disabilities to achieve their full potential, living ordinary lives in ordinary places, as independently as possible while ensuring that the voice of service users and their families are heard and that they are fully involved in planning and improving services to meet their needs
  • Maximising the potential of older people, their families and local communities to maintain people in their own homes and communities, while delivering high quality residential care when required
  • Reforming our services to maximise the use of existing resources and developing sustainable models of service provision with positive outcomes for service users, delivering best value for money.

Find out more about our role and function

Related documents

  • Social Care Divisional Operational Plan 2017

Disability Services

Services for Older People


Find out more about our structure

Services provided to the public

Social Care Services related documents

Disability Services

The HSE provides and funds a range of services for people with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities or autism and their carers. These services include basic health services as well as assessment, rehabilitation, income maintenance, community care and residential care respite, home care and day care.

Some services are provided directly by the HSE. Many of the community, residential and rehabilitative training services are provided by voluntary organisations with funding under Section 38 and Section 39 of the Health Act from the HSE.

General health services for people with a Disability People with disabilities can avail of general health services on the same basis as everyone else. These services may include: Medical cards, prescribed drugs and medicines, medical and surgical aids and appliances, Hospital services, Dental Services, Optical Services, and Aural Services.

Community care services People with disabilities can avail of the range of community care services within available resources. In many cases, they have priority in accessing services. The relevant community care services may include: Public Health Nurses, Home Helps, Home Care Assistants (HCA’s) Psychological Services, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work Services, Physiotherapy, Day care and Respite Care

Find out more about the disability services we provide

Services for Older People

The HSE provides a wide range of services for people growing older in Ireland. Choose from the options below to find out more about the services we provide, and how you can access them.

For information on Older Persons services go to Older Persons Service

Or follow the links below under the heading of your interest

How Health Services are Organised The HSE delivers health services through seven Hospital Groups and nine community health areas called Community Healthcare Organisations (CHO) across the country.

Your local health office or Public Health Nurse can help you to access community services in your area.

Home Support Service There are currently, over 47,000 people benefiting from a home help service and approximately 15,000 people are in receipt of a home care package.

Home Help Service The HSE home help service provides personal care and or essential domestic care to dependant people to support them to live at home. Your local health office or Public Health Nurse can help you to access community services in your area.

Home Care Packages A home care package is an individualised package of community based services and supports provided to enable people, assessed as needing such supports, to return home from an acute hospital or to prevent admission to an acute hospital or long term residential care. Home Care packages can include services and supports such as, public health nursing, therapy services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, home help services and access to both day and respite care. Find out more about Home Care Packages

Day Care The HSE also directly provides and funds voluntary organisations to provide day care and meals on wheels services. The type of day service provided varies with some providing a more social element which may offer personal care such as showering, chiropody; while other services are nurse led and provide a nursing service as well as social activities. Some day care centres are targeted at specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s / dementia. Your local health office or Public Health Nurse can help you to access community services in your area.

Respite services Respite services both in the home and in nursing homes are recognised as hugely important for carers as they offer an opportunity to take a break from the stresses of caring. Your primary care team/ public health nursing service can help you to access respite services in your area. Find out about the government Carer's Support Grant (formerly called Respite Care Grant) 

Residential Services The HSE is committed to supporting older people to stay at home for as long as it is safe and practical. Residential care in Ireland is provided through public (HSE) homes, private and voluntary Organisations. In the event that residential care is required the HSE has a scheme to part fund nursing home care. Find out more about the Nursing Home Support Scheme, your local health office or Public Health Nurse to access community services in your area.

Choosing a Residential Home If you are considering a residential home you may find it helpful to view the latest inspection reports for the nursing home you are considering on

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) HIQA is the Government appointed organisation to register and inspect residential services and monitor their compliance with the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland.

Ph: 021 240 9300 Email: Website:

Dementia Services

For information on Dementia and services please link to our dedicated dementia site Dementia - Understand Together

Safeguarding Vulnerable People at Risk of Abuse Each Community Healthcare Organisation has a Safeguarding and Protection Team for vulnerable adults. If you have any concerns about abuse and or neglect of a vulnerable older person, please contact your health professional or the Safeguarding and Protection Team. If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child or young person please contact TUSLA - The Child and Family Agency Ph: (01) 771 8500

See the Safeguarding Policy here:

Support and Advocacy Service

SAGE Advocacy - Support and Advocacy Service aims to deliver a service for older people and other adults who may be vulnerable. Our Mission is to “promote and protect the rights, freedoms and dignity of those individuals” by developing support and advocacy services.

The service is co-funded by the HSE and Atlantic Philanthropies and is under the Governance of Third Age” 

 For further information follow this link

Decision Making

Options available for contacting us with your feedback and complaints

  • In Person: Talk to any member of HSE staff, service manager or complaints officer
  • Online Form: Send your complaint securely through the online feedback form
  • By with your feedback.
  • By Letter: Send a letter or fax to any HSE location. Staff can help you put your complaint in writing, if you require assistance.
  • Ring us: 045 880 429: Your call will be answered by a staff member from the National Complaints Governance and Learning Team.
  • Contact our Confidential Recipient for Vulnerable Persons (any vulnerable person receiving residential care in a HSE or HSE funded facility ), Leigh Gath, Mobile 087 6657269. Email
  • Through Advocacy Services: Contact an Advocacy Service.
  • National Specialist in Accessibility: The HSE has appointed a National Specialist in Accessibility who will provide guidance, advice and strategic support in the promotion of access for people with disabilities. The purpose of the role is also to develop a strategic framework for the implementation of Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 in the HSE.

Related documents

Suggested inclusions

HSE Code of Governance

Safeguarding Vulnerable People at Risk of Abuse Policy

(National Guidelines re Accessing Health and Social Care Services

Disability Services

Disability Services Reports are available to view and download through the following link

  • Publication available below:

  • National Guidelines on Accessible Health and Social Care Services

  • Home Sharing in Intellectual Disability Services in Ireland - Report of the National Expert Group, 2016

  • Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015
  • National Standards for Residential Services for Children and Adults with Disabilities

  • Assessing your child's need under the Disability Act 2005

Services for Older People

Services for Older People Reports are available to view and download through the following links:

Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons at Risk of Abuse - National Policy & Procedures 2014

The Irish National Dementia Strategy 2014

HSE - Dementia Awareness Programme

Find out more about our decision making process

For information on the care needs assessments and processes to obtain nursing home care and homecare packages please follow one of the links below.

Nursing Home Support Scheme

Home Care Packages

Single Assessment Tool

Frequently Requested Information

Below are links to information that is frequently requested from us.

For information on performance of HSE services such as how many people are in receipt of services please follow link below.

For information on the metadata details (what the HSE is actually counting) for older persons please follow link below and go to Key Performance Indicators Or

For information on HSE elder abuse publications please follow link below.

To view the progress of the Carers Strategy please follow the link below

Procurement Process for New Approved Service Providers for Home Care Services

At regular intervals the HSE invites interested parties to tender for the provision of high quality, enhanced home support and personal care services for older people, to complement existing community services where service users require additional homecare which the local area is unable to provide within their core resources.

The arrangements apply for new clients from the 1st September 2016. Clients already in receipt of home care services on that date were not affected and continued to receive services from their existing provider.

All of the approved providers have committed to meeting minimum required standards set down by the HSE and the tender process forms part of the HSE’s overall plan to continue to raise standards of home care provision.

When HSE direct service provision has been fully assigned clients choose their care provider, from the list of approved providers in their area.

Service Level Agreements with the approved providers are for a period of two years. Services will be monitored by the HSE through the Service Level Agreement in place with each provider.

The HSE intends to tender for home care services again in 2018 so all parties will have the opportunity to tender. Interested parties should register with It is the responsibility of providers to monitor the website and the HSE accepts no responsibility for providers missing competitions.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 gives each individual legal rights to access both personal and non-personal (corporate) records, to have personal records amended or deleted where the information is incorrect or misleading and the right to seek reasons for decisions that affect him/her.

Find out more about making a request under the Freedom of information Act 2014.