Regulation of Private Nursing Homes in Ireland


The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is responsible for the registration and inspection of all residential care services for older people. Services are required to meet certain standards which are set out in legislation and include rules about the standard of accommodation as well as care.

All services, including public as well as private and voluntary nursing homes, are subject to this independent registration and inspection.

You can inspect the registers of residential centres for older people and the current inspection reports on the HIQA website.

Registration and inspection

Services are only allowed to operate if they are registered by HIQA and they are inspected regularly to ensure that they maintain a high level of care.

HIQA inspect residential services and re-register each centre every three years. The inspections are a mixture of both announced and unannounced visits. These will happen by day and also in the evenings, at weekends and at night.

The registration and inspection process is completely independent and reports are published after every inspection. These inspection reports provide information to the residents themselves, their families and the general public about the standards of care in individual centres.


The legislation governing the registration and inspection of residential care services for older people is:


The Current - National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland (pdf) are intended to help to ensure that the needs of people living in residential accommodation are met.These are the National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland. These Standards supersede all previous standards for residential care settings for older people in Ireland and come into effect on 1 July 2016. There is also a guide to the standards (pdf)


If you, a member of your family or someone acting on your behalf have concerns about your care, you should first try to resolve these at a local level, with the management of the care service.

If matters are not resolved at this level, you or somebody acting on your behalf can make a complaint to HIQA in relation to any matter concerning the service. The complaint should normally be in writing but an oral complaint can be accepted if it is not possible to put it in writing. HIQA must investigate the complaint and the proprietor or the person in charge of the service must be notified and given the opportunity to respond to the complaint. If the complaint is upheld, HIQA can direct the residential care service to take specified action in relation to the complaint and the proprietor must comply with this.

Contract of care
Before you go into a nursing home, a contract of care is agreed between you and the nursing home. This contract sets out the terms that are to govern your care and welfare and must include details of the services to be provided and the fees to be charged. The voluntary Code of Practice for Nursing Homes states that the contract should cover;

  • The services to be provided
  • The level of fees, time and method of payment, whether in advance or in arrears
  • Extra services and appliances that are charged separately (this cannot include "essential" services)
  • A procedure for increasing fees when necessary
  • Provision for review of your stay
  • The personal items that you may bring to the home and those that the home will provide
  • Arrangements for the care of pets (where allowed)
  • Terms under which you may vacate the accommodation temporarily (e.g., for holidays or admission to hospital)
  • The circumstances in which you can be asked to leave
  • Procedure on either side for ending the arrangement or giving notice of changes
  • Statement of insurance cover
  • Provision for the observance of religious beliefs
  • Procedure on the death of a resident
  • Arrangement for holidays.

A comprehensive nursing review of the care of each resident should be undertaken by the nursing home at least every six months.

Where to apply

You can inspect the registers of residential centres for older people and the inspection reports on the HIQA website. Apply to individual nursing homes for details of their cost and conditions.

More information on the registration and inspection of nursing homes, as well as on the National Standards, is available from HIQA by:

  • Calling the advice line: 021 240 9660 or email:
  • Calling the registration queries line: 021 240 9340 or email:
  • Writing to: Health Information and Quality Authority, Social Services Inspectorate, 1301 City Gate, Mahon, Cork
Page updated: 7th March 2017


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