Dementia Pathways. For Primary Care in ireland

HSE social work services are delivered by teams of social workers, working with individuals and groups experiencing social and emotional difficulties. The aim of social work is to help people achieve change and make decisions which will improve their quality of life. It is also a function of social work to identify options and support steps to advance social policy and service delivery.

Most public hospitals employ social workers whose main task is to help people when they leave the hospital.  The social worker will complete a needs assessment and identify options that empower the person and enhance their quality of life.  

They may find suitable accommodation for them, help them to find a nursing home place (with consent of the person) or ensure that the necessary supports are in place if they return home.  Social workers also work with families to help strengthen relationships and the support they can provide to a loved one.  Social workers also advocate on behalf of their clients to improve access to services.  

The availability of social workers varies considerably from one HSE area to another. Some HSE Local Health Offices employ social workers specifically to cater for the needs of older people.

Furthermore the HSE employs social workers to work with vulnerable adults on issues of protection.  For further information - see or telephone 061 461 165 (9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday) or the HSE Information Line on 1850 24 1850 (8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Saturday).