Older people

We are working towards improving the quality of care for older people in residential settings across Ireland. Please note that revised standards come into effect on 1 July 2016.

We have published standards for residential care settings for older people, including nursing homes, to improve the quality of life of residents and to promote best practice in these settings.

The standards clearly outline what is expected of a provider of services and what a resident, their family, a carer, or the public can expect to receive in residential care settings.

The Standards

The National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland were developed based on legislation, research findings and best practice.

They deal with the areas of rights of older people, protection, health and social care needs, quality of life, staffing, the care environment, and management and governance. In addition, the standards include supplementary criteria that apply to units that specialise in the care of people with dementia.

Inspection and registration

Each residential setting for older people is required by law to register with the Authority. The Authority must then verify that each centre is ‘fit’ to operate and this is done through the process of inspection.

The standards are used by inspectors from the Authority when they visit to check that an appropriate standard of care is in place in residential care settings. Residents and their relatives and friends can also use them to see what should and should not be happening in nursing homes. See our checklist on what you should be looking for when choosing a nursing home.

More information

Please see frequently asked questions or read our standards for further information. To find out more about inspections, see our section on how the inspection process works. If you are a service provider please see our care providers section.


A nationwide public consultation on new National Standards for nursing homes and residential care settings providing services to older people took place in September 2014.