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 activation, such as recreational, sport and leisure facilities, and specialised clinic facilities that provide a combination of medical and rehabilitation services. Day centres are provided on a variable basis throughout the country, some being provided directly by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and others in conjunction with voluntary organisations.

Day centres providing medical care are less widely available. Access to day centres is by referral and the eligibility conditions vary from area to area with means tests applying in some cases.


There are no clear-cut rules about day centres. In practice, day centres have evolved as an alternative to hospital or other residential care for older people and people with disabilities.

Their general purpose is to help older people, people with disabilities, and their carers, to live in their communities and to promote independent living.

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

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


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. People with intellectual disabilities or autism may be recommended for attendance at day services after an assessment of need.

Page edited: 29 April 2015