The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides community care and home care supports at local level, including the Home Support Service. This service was previously known as the Home Care Package Scheme.
The Home Support Service helps older people to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. For example, it can provide support with everyday tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing.
A person’s individual needs are assessed to decide what supports they need. These supports will be provided by the HSE or by an external provider, approved by the HSE.
Who can apply for the Home Support Service?
The Home Support Service is available to people aged 65 or over who may need support to continue living at home or to return home following a hospital stay. The services might be needed due to illness, disability or after a stay in hospital or following rehabilitation in a nursing home.
In some cases, the service may be available to people younger than 65 who need support. For example, people with early onset dementia or a disability.
What does the Home Support Service cost?
There is no charge for the service and the scheme is not means tested. You do not need to have a medical card to apply for the Home Support Service.
How does the Home Support Service work?
The supports are provided by the HSE, or else by an external provider that is approved by the HSE.
If you are approved for the service and HSE staff are not available, an external provider approved by the HSE will deliver the home support to you. The HSE can arrange this service on your behalf. You deal directly with the approved provider of your choice to arrange the days and times for the support.
Alternatively, you can request to deal directly with an approved provider. If you are approved, the HSE will write to you to tell you the weekly amount of funding you can use to arrange home support from your chosen provider. This approach is called Consumer Directed Home Support (CDHS). The number of hours of home support that the funding provides depends on the rates charged by the provider. The provider will tell you what rates they have agreed with the HSE.
You can request Consumer Directed Home Support when you apply. Whether your services are CDHS or are arranged by the HSE, you can choose to change to the other approach if you wish.
What services will I get?
The services that are provided vary, depending on individual needs. For example, they may include help with everyday tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing. When you apply, the HSE arranges an assessment of the kinds of support you may need. This is called the Care Needs Assessment.
The HSE will occasionally review the services you are receiving and may increase or decrease the supports you are getting, depending on your care needs, or the supports may remain the same. If your situation changes, you must notify the local HSE Home Support Office if this affects your need for home support.
What is the Care Needs Assessment?
When you apply, the HSE will assess your health care needs and social circumstances. The assessment will identify the level of care that you currently receive and what other supports you may need.
The assessment will be done by a healthcare professional such as a public health nurse or physiotherapist.
The HSE will write to you to let you know what decision is made about the supports you need.
If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can write to the HSE Home Support Office in your area to state this and your reasons. You can do this within 20 days of receiving the decision. An impartial review of the decision will be undertaken and you will be informed of the outcome of this review.
How to apply
To get an application form, contact your local Home Support Office or download the application form and information booklet for the Home Support Service (pdf).
Staff in your local office can help you if have questions or need help filling in the form.
You can complete the application form yourself or you can ask someone to complete it for you, for example, a family carer, GP or public health nurse. If someone else is completing the form for you, you must sign the Declaration and Consent section in Part 1 of the application form.
If you are in hospital, you should ask the person dealing with your discharge plan about applying. This person might be a nurse, a discharge coordinator or a social worker. They will help you with the application form and send it to your local HSE Home Support Office.
If you would like to be considered for CDHS, tick the box for this on the application form.
Return the completed application form to your local Home Support Office.