Carers Support

The HSE recognises the valuable contribution of carers who care for family members, relatives and friends.

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 (JPG) 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.

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

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

How Health Services are organised

The HSE delivers health services through seven 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, Physiotherapists,  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 specific client groups.

The Nursing Home Support Scheme, also known as the “Fair Deal” scheme is a scheme of financial support for people who need long term residential care services.  Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, people make a contribution towards the cost of their care and the State pays the balance.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is administered by the HSE in line with the legislation (Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009) and within the resources made available for the Scheme. Further information is available on the HSE website under older people services.

Information on services for specific care groups and carers information

  • Primary Care - Usually the first point of contact to access health services in the community is through your Doctor or Primary Care Team which includes your local Public Health Nurse and therapy services
  • Disability Services - Services targeted at persons with a disability
  • Mental Health- Services targeted at persons experiencing mental health difficulties, in addition to support provided by their GP
  • Older Persons - Services targeted at persons aged over 65
  • Complaints - It is your right as a patient or service user of the HSE to make a complaint if you believe that standards of care, treatment or practice fall short of what is acceptable.
  • Quality Improvement Division provides information on National Patients Forum and SAGE Advocacy - Support and Advocacy Service for Older People

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 HSE Live on 1800 700 700.

If you are concerned about the safety or welfare of a Child (under 18) contact Tusla, the Child and Family Agency

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 021 240 9300

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.

Find out more about the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act

Carers Groups

Family Carers Ireland has a network of carer groups across the country. Find local Family Carers Ireland - Network of Carer Group