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Policy Information

Social Care

Published: 25 July 2019
From: Department of Health


Social care services include:

  • health and personal services for people with a disability
  • residential and community-based care for older people
  • palliative care

Disability Policy

Government policies focus on enabling people with disabilities to achieve their full potential, living as independently as possible. Policies also aim to ensure that the voices of service users and their families are heard, and that they are fully involved in planning and improving services to meet their needs.

Read more about disability services and find your local service.


The government is continuing to move people with disabilities out of congregated settings.

Congregated settings are where 10 or more people with a disability live together in a single living unit or are placed in campus-based accommodation. In most cases, people are grouped together and often live isolated lives far away from family, friends and the community. Many experience institutional living conditions where they lack basic privacy.

The government's Strategy for Community Inclusion is a model of support where people with disabilities are supported to move from large institutions (congregated settings) to their own homes in the community with the supports they need.

Read more about decongregation and how it works.

Task Force on Personalised Budgets

Personalised Budgets can give people with disabilities more choice and control over the services and supports they get.

A personalised budget is an amount of funding that a person with a disability can get from the government for their services and supports. This allows people with disabilities to make their own arrangements to meet their support needs, instead of having the State arrange them. People with disabilities can also choose not to do this and to instead continue with the services they have.

The government is currently working on projects which will form best practices on how to make personalised budgets work for people who want them.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme – A Fair Deal

You can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home through the Fair Deal scheme.

You must be approved for the scheme before you can receive funding for a nursing home.

The scheme is based on the core principles that long-term care should be affordable, and that a person should receive the same level of State support whether they choose a public, voluntary or private nursing home.

Adult Safeguarding

A framework of policies and procedures for the safeguarding of adults who may be at risk of abuse, harm and exploitation within the health sector is in place. Key actions, including advancement of the Patient Safety (Licensing) Bill, are set out in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy.

A further set of patient safety initiatives is underway, supervised by the National Patient Safety Office.

In December 2017, the government approved the development of a national adult safeguarding policy for the health sector. The policy will apply to the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The development of this policy is under way, assisted by a Steering Group which will continue its work throughout 2019. It is expected that, when approved, the national adult safeguarding policy will form the basis for legislation.

Read more

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