Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Ireland - Supporting people in their homes or in nursing homes

In what situation can I claim?

The Home Care Package exists for people who need medium to high caring support to continue to live at home independently.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, known as A Fair Deal, is aimed at helping people meet the costs of long-term nursing home care.

What conditions do I need to meet?

The Home Care Package scheme is particularly aimed at helping people, who could need to go into a nursing home, to stay in their own homes if possible.

The scheme is not established in law, is not based on social insurance contributions and does not take into account means. You do not have an automatic right to the scheme, or to avail of services under the scheme.  The Home Care Package scheme is run by the Health Service Executive (HSE), which has national guidelines on how people can qualify.

In most cases, a HSE health professional will carry out a Care Needs Assessment to help you and your family work out your needs and level of dependency.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, Fair Deal, is also run by the HSE. Under the scheme people contribute to the cost of their nursing home care according to their means and the State pays the balance of the cost. In order to receive State support towards the cost of your nursing home care your Fair Deal application must be approved.

In order to apply for the Scheme you must be ordinarily resident in Ireland.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Every Health Service Executive area operates the Home Care Package scheme using the money earmarked for the scheme. The level of service you receive will depend on the local population, your needs and other local parameters.

The types of support or service will vary according to people’s needs and the level of support they have from friends and family: some Packages may emphasize home help, others, therapy and nursing. The general rule is that if a person needs more than about 5 hours Home Help service a week, they can apply to be considered for a Home Care Package.

Services may be provided by the HSE directly, or by non-HSE service providers approved by the HSE.

If you decide to employ someone privately within your home, either to top up your Package or because you aren’t entitled to support, you are that person’s employer. You can claim tax concessions and have certain obligations (see ‘Know Your Rights’).

The first step in applying for Nursing Home Support is a Care Needs Assessment to identify if you need long-term nursing home care. The remaining steps, including details in relation to the financial assessment, are outlined in the Guide to Applying for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Once the application has been approved, the HSE will give you a list of nursing homes covering public, voluntary and approved private homes. You can choose any on the list providing they have the place for you and can meet your needs.

Once you have chosen and are admitted to the nursing home, the HSE will pay the balance of the cost of your care. The amount you have to pay will be based on a Financial Assessment and works out as 80% of your income and 7.5% of the value of any assets, a year.  In the case of a couple, means are assessed as 50% of the couple’s combined income and assets.

A sample case

If the cost of your care was €1,000 and your weekly contribution was €300, the HSE will pay the weekly balance of €700. You will pay the same contribution capped by the actual cost of care, regardless of whether you choose a public, voluntary or approved private nursing home.

Jargon busters

Ordinarily resident means living in Ireland for at least a year or intending to live in Ireland for at least a year.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights in law, they are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

Find your nearest Local Health Office here.

Find your nearest Nursing Homes Support Scheme Office

You can also call the HSE infoline staff on 1850 24 1850, from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm.

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