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Introduction

People using health and social care services in Ireland should expect that their human rights will be promoted and protected when they require care and support from services. Human rights are about people being treated with fairness, respect, equality and dignity, having a say over their lives and participating as fully as possible in decisions about their care and support. A human rights-based approach to care and support seeks to ensure that the human rights of people using health and social care services are protected, promoted and supported in practice, and embedded in the culture of a service. 

We have developed guidance for health and social care services in Ireland on implementing a human rights-based approach to care and support for adults. The guidance was developed in conjunction with Safeguarding Ireland, and part-funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission under the Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme 2017. The guidance outlines a way of working for health and social care staff, to assist them to uphold human rights in their work.

High-level reference to a human rights-based approach to care and support is made in a number of the national standards developed by HIQA. This guidance on rights based care will assist staff and services to put these elements of national standards into practice.

Animation

We have developed a video animation to raise awareness among people using services

Online learning modules

We have developed an online learning course to support staff working in health and social care to apply a human rights-based approach.

Click here to read our press release.

The course builds upon HIQA’s Guidance on a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care Services, which was published in 2019. It aims to address knowledge and skills gaps identified through extensive stakeholder engagement. 

The course is comprised of four modules:The online learning module is hosted on HSELanD in the course catalogue ‘Health & Social Care Professionals’.

The first module is called: 

Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care: Putting national standards into practice. Module 1: Introduction to Human Rights in Health and Social Care.

The second module is called:

Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care: Putting national standards into practice. Module 2: Role of Good Communication in Upholding Human Rights.

The third module is called:

Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care: Putting national standards into practice. Module 3: Putting People at the Centre of Decision-making

The fourth module is called:

Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care: Putting national standards into practice. Module 4: Positive Risk-taking  

If you require a certificate of completion you will need to login to HSELanD to complete the course. This is available to all those working in the health and social care sector, and to students in Irish universities or colleges, and there is no charge to set up an account. For further information, please visit HSELanD's help page.

If you have any technical difficulties, please contact HSELanD technical support. If you have any difficulties in locating the course or any content queries, please contact the Standards Team at standards@hiqa.ie.

Alternatively, you can complete the module here under the tab 'Online Learning Modules', but it will not be possible to receive a certificate of completion.

How the guidance was developed

Read our Background Document detailing the international and national evidence that was used to inform the development of the guidance.
Read our Statement of Outcomes document which outlines the feedback that was received during focus group discussions and public consultations, and how this feedback informed the development of the guidance.

Further information

For further information or if you have any questions, you can email the Standards Team at standards@hiqa.ie or call 01 814 7400 and ask to speak to a member of the Standards team.

Resources to aid understanding and support implementation of a human rights-based approach:

In addition to the Guidance, HIQA has published a number of resources to help health and social care services to apply a human rights-based approach:

Academic Slide Deck

Use our academic slide deck as a teaching and training resource on a human rights-based approach in health and social care. The slide deck will be a useful resource for those teaching health and social care students and those providing training for health and social care staff. The slide deck includes material on human rights within an international and Irish context, the legal framework relevant to human rights in health and social care in Ireland, and the application of human rights principles in day-to-day practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the guidance and how it can help you in your work.

Legal Framework

Read the Legal Framework document which outlines the key national and international legislation underpinning a human rights-based approach to care and support in Ireland.

Decision-making Flow Chart

View the Decision-making Flow Chart that uses a human rights-based approach to care and support. This is a helpful tool for staff when making decisions in relation to a person's care.

FAIR Approach to Decision-Making

View the FAIR approach to decision-making in health and social care services developed by the Scottish Human Rights Commission. This resource has been designed to help staff consider their actions when faced with a decision that may restrict the rights of a person using a service.

Linking National Standards to human rights

Read our document linking the national standards developed by HIQA to human rights set out in the ECHR and the UNCRPD.

Decision-making in Health and Social Care Services


Putting people at the centre of the decision-making process about their care and support is very important when applying a human rights-based approach. Listen to what this means to members of Galway Advocacy Council, a self-advocacy group in the Brothers of Charity organisation, in this video.