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Evidence review to inform the National Standards for Homecare and Support Services

Status: Published on

This evidence review was developed as part of HIQA’s standards development process to inform a set of draft National Standards for Homecare and Support Services in Ireland. The review provides an overview of the current Irish context and summarises international, national and academic evidence to identify characteristics of good person-centred practices in homecare and support services, where people experience safe, high-quality outcomes from the care and support they receive in their home.

Key findings from the evidence synthesis are presented under the four interlinked principles of: 

  • A human rights-based approach
  • Safety and wellbeing
  • Accountability
  • Responsiveness.

The National Standards for Homecare and Support Services will form part of a regulatory framework for homecare and support services in Ireland that is currently being developed by the Department of Health. The draft national standards will be informed by this evidence review and engagement with key stakeholders including service users, service user representatives and advocacy groups, service providers and other stakeholders in Irish health and social care. 

When developed, the draft national standards for homecare and support will:

  • Provide a common language to describe what high-quality, safe and reliable homecare and support services look like
  • be underpinned by a set of key principles which are used consistently across all national standards (a human rights-based approach, safety and wellbeing, responsiveness, and accountability), all working together to achieve person-centred care and support
  • enable a person-centred approach, by focusing on outcomes for people using homecare and support services and placing them at the centre of all that the service does
  • help people using homecare and support services to understand what high-quality, safe services should be and what they should expect from a well-run service
  • create a basis to measure the quality and safety of a service’s performance against the standards, by identifying strengths and highlighting areas for improvement 
  • promote day-to-day practice that is up to date, effective, and consistent, and based on the best available evidence, and
  • provide a framework for service providers to be accountable to those using their services, the public and funding agencies, by setting out how they should organise, deliver and improve the care and support they provide.


The Programme for Government (2020) commits to the introduction of a statutory scheme to support people to live in their own homes by providing access to high-quality, regulated homecare. In 2021, the Government gave approval to draft a General Scheme and Heads of a Bill to establish a licensing framework for home support providers.

It is intended that the scheme will provide equitable access to high-quality services, based on a person’s assessed care needs. The proposed statutory scheme, together with the national standards, will provide a system-wide approach to addressing homecare and support in Ireland. A regulatory framework underpinned by legislation will offer assurance that people using homecare and support services will receive safe, quality, and person-centred care.

Together, findings from this evidence review and feedback from stakeholders will inform the development of the Draft National Standards for Homecare and Support Services. These draft standards will be made available for a six-week public consultation and key stakeholders and the wider public will have an opportunity to share their views on the draft standards.

The national standards will provide a framework for best practice in providing person-centred homecare and support. 

Executive summary

  • Evidence review on homecare and home support services executive summary