Disability (Physical and Sensory)


Health Research Board

Key information

The numbers of registered persons with physical or sensory disabilities classified by Health Service Executive (HSE) area and local health office, age group, sex, type of living accommodation, living arrangements, and relationship with and age of primary carer. The type of disability classified by age group and sex, with further breakdown by primary and secondary diagnostic categories. The use of therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation services, personal assistance and support services, residential services, respite services, and technical aids and appliances, all classified by age group. Current day service use and future need for day services are captured. Unmet needs and future demand for these services and facilities are also documented.


The National Physical and Sensory Disability Database, which is populated with information primarily provided to the HSE by service providers and HSE personnel.


All people aged under 66 years with persistent physical or sensory disability who use or in the next five years need a specialised health and personal social service and are registered on the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD). As participation in the NPSDD is voluntary, the database does not cover a proportion of people living in Ireland who have a physical or sensory disability and who have opted not to go on the NPSDD.



Reference period

Calendar year and 31 December

Start date



6 months after the end of the reference period


  • Region
    Dublin Mid-Leinster; Southern; Western; Dublin North East. The 32 HSE Local Health Offices are also used.
  • Age
    Less Than 18 years; 18+ years
  • Age (primary carer)
    Less Than 19 years; 19-49; 50-59; 60-69; 70+ years.
  • Living accommodation
    Private accommodation, adapted; Private accommodation, not adapted; Rented accommodation, adapted - County Council; Rented accommodation, adapted - private housing; Rented accommodation, adapted - housing association; Rented accommodation, not adapted - County Council; Rented Accommodation, not adapted - private housing; Rented Accommodation, not adapted - housing association; Full-time residential service; Mobile home/caravan; Homeless; Other.
  • Living arrangements
    Living alone; Living with family (With husband, wife or partner and no children; With husband, wife or partner and children; With one parent; With both parents; With parents and siblings; With siblings; With sons/daughters; With other family relatives); Living with non-family (With non-relatives ; In full-time residential service; With foster family); Other.
  • Relationship of primary carer
    Husband/wife/partner; Mother/father; Son/daughter; Other relative; Non relative; Other; Foster parent; Sibling.
  • Disability
    Physical only; Hearing loss/deafness only; Visual only; Speech and language only; Physical and hearing loss/deafness; Physical and visual; Hearing loss/deafness and visual; Physical, hearing loss/deafness and visual; Physical & speech and language; Hearing & speech and language; Visual & speech and language; Physical & hearing & speech and language; Physical & visual & speech and language; Hearing & visual & speech and language; Physical & hearing & visual & speech and language.
  • Diagnostic category
    Nervous system; Musculo-skeletal System; Communication; Intellectual/Developmental; Behavioural; Ear complaints; Endocrine and metabolic; Eye complaints; Respiratory system; Congenital; Circulatory system; Infectious and parasitic; Neoplasms; Digestive system; Genito-urinary system; Blood and blood forming organs; Skin disease or disorders; Not Applicable. These are further broken down into detailed subcategories.
  • Therapeutic service
    Physiotherapist; Occupational therapist; Speech and language therapist; Chiropodist; Clinical nutritionist; Orthotist/prosthetist; Public health nurse; Continence advisor; Social worker; Psychologist; Counsellor; Play therapist; Creative therapy; Complementary therapy; Assistive technology/client technical service; Community resource worker; Mobility/rehabilitation worker for the blind; Audiologist; Aural rehabilitation; Tinnitus retraining.
  • Personal assistance
    Personal assistant; Home help; Home care assistant; Twilight nurse; Driving instructor, adapted car; Communication assistant; Peer support; Guide dog service; Personal reader; Tape library support; Braille library support; Large print library support; Sighted guide; Sign language interpreter; Speed text; Lip speaking; Sign language tuition.
  • Day services
    Baby and toddler groups; Pre-school; Primary school; Secondary school; Third level education; Training, work and employment services; Activation services. These are further broken down into detailed subcategories.
  • Residential services
    Dedicated high support with nursing care, older people; Dedicated high support with nursing care, intellectual disability; Dedicated high support with nursing care, physical and sensory disability; Dedicated high support with nursing care and therapy services, older people; Dedicated high support with nursing care and therapy services, intellectual disability; Dedicated high support with nursing care and therapy services, physical and sensory disability; Nursing home; Welfare home; Independent unit in a dedicated complex with high support; Independent unit in a dedicated complex with low support; Independent unit in a dedicated complex with no support; Living independently in community with high support, more than 10 hours; Living independently in community with low support, less than 10 hours; Living in community in agency accommodation with agency support; Living independently in community with house adapted or re-housing; Specialist unit; Acute general hospital; District/community hospital; Specialist hospital; Mental health residential facility; Other.
  • Respite services
    Planned residential respite with high support; Planned residential respite with low support; Planned home-based respite; Summer camps (residential); Summer camps (day); Breakaway and befriending schemes; Holiday respite placement; Emergency respite services; Emergency residential respite with high support; Emergency residential respite with low support; Emergency home-based respite.
  • Technical aids and appliances
    Aids to mobility; Orthotics and prosthetics; Vision aids; Aids to hearing; Communication aids; Incontinence aids; Special furniture and other aids to personal care; Respiratory aids; Other.


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