Beaumont Hospital Kidney Centre

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Practical & Social Support

The Kidney Patient Care Co-ordinators, at Beaumont Hospital, will provide you with practical and social support and advice, will liaise with you and your family regarding any particular difficulties which your illness presents, and will advise you accordingly. This encompasses a wide range of topics, from the different treatment options to practical help with housing, medical cards etc.

Once you have been diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD), you will be referred to one of the Patient Care Co-ordinators either through the ward, the outpatients department, or your Consultant. Your allocated co-ordinator will then provide information on education, support, practical advice and any other assistance possible to help you in the transition to kidney replacement therapy (RRT).



The Patient Care Co-ordinators, in conjunction with other members of the kidney team, run education sessions from time to time. These are specifically aimed at patients who are approaching ESKD and aim to answer the many questions that you will have at this time. They include information on the different treatments available for kidney disease such as haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or transplantation, and explain the options available to you, at this time. If you are unable to attend one of these sessions or, if there is no session planned at the time of your diagnosis, the Patient Care Coordinator will provide all the necessary information on a one-to-one basis.



When you or someone in your family is diagnosed with a chronic illness such as kidney disease, the resulting non-medical financial burden can further complicate the stress involved, and, it is important to become aware of the various assistance schemes available from the Department of Social Protection, the HSE and Local Authorities.

Not everyone is automatically entitled to financial assistance and some schemes are means tested. Specific individual circumstances are also taken into account; therefore, one person may qualify for assistance, while another, with the same illness, may not. You can only find out about your position by making an application and providing all the details required so that the relevant authority can determine your eligibility. Your Patient Care Co-ordinator can provide advice on your entitlements and, where applicable, provide a letter of support to accompany your application.

“Not everyone
is automatically
entitled to financial
assistance, and
some schemes are
means tested.”

The area of grants/allowances/benefits is a wide-ranging one that cannot be covered in detail in this publication. On the following pages is an overview of what financial assistance may be available and included at the end is a list of the relevant organisations to which you can apply for further information.



There are three categories of eligibility for health services: medical card holders, GP visit card holders and non-medical card holders.

Medical card holders are entitled to free hospitalisation, GP services, most prescribed drugs and a range of other health servies. A medical card is means tested, based on the applicant’s weekly income less PRSI.

Further information and a medical card application form can be obtained from your local health centre or can be downloaded from

Hardship cases are dealt with on merit and special circumstances such as chronic illness can be taken into account. In cases of financial hardship, medical card holders may apply to their local HSE office for assistance with the cost of on-going prescribed medical items not available under the Medical Card Scheme. If you feel you need a medical card, do apply for one. A supporting letter may be obtained from your attending hospital on request.

GP visit card holders are entitled to free visits to their GP. This card is issued based on specific income guidelines. In some cases, where a person may have a chronic illness which involves regular GP visits, the HSE may grant the GP visit card even where their income is greater than the guidelines. Largely, the HSE will only consider these applications where an ongoing medical condition is causing or likely to cause undue financial hardship.

Non-medical card holders are liable for a Government Levy for in-patient stays. Non-medical card holders can avail of the Drugs Payment Scheme through their local pharmacy. Under this scheme, families (patients, their partners and dependant children) pay a fixed amount per month for prescribed medicine.



Medical expenses of the entire family qualify for tax relief. Further information is contained in Leaflet IT6, which is available from the Revenue Commissioner, tel. 1890-306706 or visit their website at

Additional tax relief is available for kidney patients on expenditures such as travel, telephone and electricity. Further information may be obtained from the Irish Kidney Association, Ph: 01-6205306.



Patients who were employed, pre-dialysis, are fully encouraged to continue in their work/full-time education/training. However, there are cases where this is not an option and there is a range of entitlements to assist those who find themselves on a reduced income due to illness.

Illness Benefit is a short-term payment paid to insured people who are unfit for work due to illness.You will qualify if you:

  • are under 66;
  • are unfit for work due to illness;
  • satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions.

Invalidity Pension is a long-term payment. To qualify, you must be permanently incapable of working. You must satisfy both PRSI and medical conditions.

Disability Allowance is a long-term weekly allowance paid to people with a disability aged between 16 and 66. Your disability must be expected to last for at least one year and the allowance is subject to both medical suitability, means test and habitual residency test.

Both Invalidity Pension and Disability Allowance entitle you to a free travel pass and you may qualify for a companion free pass if you are unfit to travel alone.

Working and Claiming a Disability Payment: In certain circumstances, it may be possible to obtain a disability payment and work, provided the work is certified as being of a rehabilitative nature. People on Disability Allowance, Blind Persons’ Pension or Invalidity Pension may be allowed to retain their social welfare payment while working part-time (certain conditions apply). Written approval must be obtained from the Department of Social Protection. This may result in the withdrawal of a medical card.

Carer’s Allowance  is a payment for carers who look after a loved one in need of full-time care and attention. This payment is means-tested. If a carer looks after more than one person, they may also be eligible for an additional payment of 50%. A carer may work outside the home for a small number of hours per week provided this has first been approved with the Department of Social Protection. Any money earned, however, will be assessed as means in deciding the amount of allowance due. There are other allowances available with the Carer’s Allowance such as:

  • Free travel pass
  • Household benefit package
  • A Respite Grant paid annually to all carers.

Carer’s Benefit: Those who leave the workforce to care for a person in need of full-time care and attention may be entitled to Carer’s Benefit, which is based on PRSI contribution. If you already receive a Social Welfare Payment you are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance or Carer Benefit. You may claim either, in place of your Social Welfare Payment.

“Carer’s Allowance is a
payment for carers who look
after a loved one in need of
full-time care and attention.”



Supplementary Welfare Allowance is an emergency payment for people without PRSI contributions. It is a basic minimum income to help bridge the gap while social welfare payments’ applications are being processed. This payment is available from the local Community Welfare Officer and covers areas such as:

  • Rent Allowance
  • Mortgage Interest Payments
  • Special Diet Allowance
  • Heating Allowance.

Exceptional Needs Payment Help towards expenses incurred during hospitalisation such as travel, clothing etc.

Other HSE payments include:

  • Mobility Allowance
  • Respite Care Grant (as mentioned above)
  • Blind Welfare Supplementary Allowance
  • Motorised Transport Grant
  • Back-to-School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

These payments can be obtained by applying to your local HSE with supporting documentation.



Patients who need financial aid, outside of the Social Welfare system, may be entitled to assistance from the Community Welfare Officer (CWO), who is based at your local Health Centre. As a kidney patient, you may apply for various allowances such as Diet Supplement or Heating Allowance. Your Patient Care Co-ordinator will advise on the relevant allowances for you and will write to your local CWO to support your application as required.

For free information on your rights and entitlements contact:
CITIZENS INFORMATION. Tel: 1890-77721. Email:
or check the Golden Pages for your local Citizens Information Centre.
COMHAIRLE, Hume House, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Tel: 01-6049000.



The housing adaption grant for people with a disability. This is a means tested grant to make a house suitable for a person with a disability. The grant can help you to make changes and adaptions to your home - for example, making it wheelchair accessible, extensions to create more space, adding ground floor bathroom or toilet or stair lift.

If you only require minor work you can apply for the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme. This ia a means tested grant to provide mobility equipment, e.g. the installation of grab-rails, a level access shower or a stair lift.

The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme. This is a means-tested grant and is used to improve the condition of the older person’s home. The type of work that is grant-aided includes structural repairs or improvements, rewiring repair or replacement of windows and doors, the provision of water, heating and sanitary services, cleaning and painting, or any other improvement work considered necessary.

Apply to the housing department, of your local authority, for each of these schemes. You may need an Occupational Therapist (OT) to assess your daily living needs in support of your application.

“Local community groups
sometimes have funding to
provide security aids, such as
personal alarms, security lighting,
mobility and safety aids.”



The transition to kidney replacement therapy and/or transplantation is eased by the constant presence of medical and nursing staff while you remain in hospital. Once discharged, it is now time for you to adjust to this new way of life within the context of your own home and family life. There are many different ways that illness can affect your life. Maybe you are too unwell to do housework and need some home help. Perhaps you need meals-on-wheels. Whatever your requirements, your Patient Care Co-Ordinator will liaise with the relevant community services to ensure you have the appropriate support after your hospital stay.



If you require any nursing care, following your discharge, you will be referred by the hospital to your Public Health Nurse, who is based in your local Health Centre. The Patient Care Co-Ordinator will ensure the PHN has all the necessary information required and will liaise with them with regard to your care.



Home help is available and works with vulnerable people in the community who, through illness or disability, are in need of help with day-to-day tasks.

A home helper might visit for a couple of hours, per day, to help with housework, shopping and might provide more personal care like help with washing, dressing or bathing.

Once you have been referred by the Patient Care Co-Ordinator or the Public Health Nurse, the local Home Help Organiser will assess you and approve the provision of a Home Help as appropriate.



Meals on WheelsThese are organised on a voluntary basis and, again, a financial contribution may be required. Your Patient Care Co-Ordinator or PHN will be able to ascertain if this service is available in your area and, if so, will make the necessary arrangements.



The community rehabilitation team provides a home-led rehabilitation service for patients who meet the rehabilitation criteria. The rehabilitation team consists of patients and their families, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Patients can be referred to other services such as dietetics, chiropody, speech and language therapy, home help services and care agencies as required.


                                                              HSE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICES
Your local health office is your entry point to community health and personal social services. The wide range of services that are provided through local Health Offices and from Health Centres include general practitioner services, public health nursing, child health services, community welfare, chiropody, ophthalmic, speech therapy, social work, addiction counselling and treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric services and home help.