Published on 1 February 2023

In 2010, then Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly issued a report (Who Cares?) to the Oireachtas regarding the right to long-term nursing home care for older people.  The report followed an investigation based on more than 1,000 individual complaints made to the Office of the Ombudsman between approximately 1985 and 2010.  

In Who Cares?, the then Ombudsman found, in relation to the type of complaints dealt with in the investigation, that the health boards (HSE) failed to fulfil their obligations to older people under section 52 of the Health Act 1970 (provision of in-patient services for persons with full eligibility and limited eligibility).

The Report, which was laid before the Oireachtas in 2010, is available on the Ombudsman’s website at

This is a historic issue and the Ombudsman no longer receives complaints regarding this matter.

The Nursing Home Support Act (Fair Deal scheme), passed in 2009, provides for financial support for those in long-term nursing home care.

As part of its normal work, the Ombudsman does continue to receive and deal with complaints regarding the current operation of both public and private nursing homes.