Services for Older People


Government Decision of 23 January 2008 established a new Office for Older People to support the Minister for Older People in exercising her responsibilities within the Departments of Health and Children, Social and Family Affairs and Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The Minister for Older People is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion and the Director of the Office is a member of the Senior Officials Group on Social Inclusion. The Office for Older People is based in the Department of Health and Children. The Office comprises three Units – Services for Older People; Long Stay Charges; Strategy Development.

Government Policy in relation to older people is to support people to live in dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and, where this is not possible, to support access to quality long-term residential care. This policy approach is renewed and developed in the latest partnership agreement, Towards 2016.

The overall emphasis is on promoting a high quality service, delivered to those who require it, in the most appropriate setting. A critical concern is to ensure that the needs of patients and clients are met as much as possible in a community setting and, where this is not possible, through residential services.


  • Care of the Older Person
  • Nursing Home Regulations
  • Inspection/Accreditation
  • Funding of Long Term Care and care in the community
  • Nursing Home Subvention Scheme/Nursing Home Support Scheme
  • Palliative care – policy development and support for legislative development

Recent Developments

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 was signed into law by the President on the 1st July. Certain sections were immediately commenced to enable preparatory work by the NTPF.

The Health (Nursing Homes) (Amendment) Act 2007 ensures that the Subvention Scheme is provided for in Primary Legislation. The previous three separate rates for subvention abolished and individuals can receive any amount up to a maximum of €300 per week. The scheme will remain in place prior to and during the transition to “Fair Deal”.

The Interdepartmental Working Group on Long-Term Care Report was published in 2008. The report examined the range of services, benefits and grants relating to long-term care which are currently in place and also considered policy options for a financially sustainable system of long-term care. The group will continue to meet with particular emphasis on dealing with future funding of long term care and evaluation of home care packages.

National Standards for all Residential Care Settings for Older People approved by the Minister in February were formally launched on 9 March, 2009

The Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2009 introduced on 1 July, 2009

Health Information and Quality Authority commenced inspections and registration of designated centres on 1 July, 2009.

The Commission of Investigation (Leas Cross Nursing Home) report was published in July, 2009.

Evaluation of Home Care Packages progressed with a view to finalisation in Quarter 4 of 2009.

Palliative Care for Children with Life Limiting Conditions - A National Policy has been finalised and adopted by Government on the 15th December 2009.


Principal Officer Geraldine Fitzpatrick
Assistant Principal Officers Michael Murchan
Michael Smith


  • Telephone: 01 - 635 4000
  • Fax: 01 - 635 4001