Day centres and day care


Day centres or day care centres in Ireland provide a range of social and rehabilitative services for older people and people with disabilities.

Day centres include centres that provide day activities, such as recreational and leisure facilities, and specialised clinic facilities that provide a combination of medical and rehabilitation services. Availability of services varies in different areas. Some day centres are provided directly by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and some are provided by other organisations on behalf of the HSE.

Access to day centres is by referral and the eligibility conditions vary from area to area.

Deferral of day service placement

If you are a young person with disabilities leaving school or rehabilitative training, you can defer your placement in a day service for up to 5 years. This means that you can explore other options while keeping your place in a day service.

This 5-year deferral is available to all young people due to leave school or rehabilitative training in 2024, and people who are already currently deferred.

Services in day centres and day care

The main purpose of day centres and day care is to help older people and people with disabilities to live in their communities and to promote independent living. They also provide a support to carers.

The range of services available varies widely and can include any or all of the following:

  • Rehabilitative training
  • Social skills for people with learning disabilities
  • Personal care
  • Health monitoring
  • Meals
  • Chiropody
  • Laundry
  • Advice for carers
  • Transport to and from day centres


There may be a small charge for transport and meals provided by day centres.

How to apply

Usually people are referred to day centres or day care services by their family doctor (GP) or their public health nurse. Day services may be recommended to people with intellectual disabilities or autism after an assessment of need.

Page edited: 14 June 2024