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Press Release

Press release

Current and future disability service requirements highlighted

1 November 2011

Continuing the trend established in previous years and despite considerable levels of service provision, future requirements for rehabilitation and therapeutic services by individuals with a physical and/or sensory disability remain high. This is one of the findings of the 2010 Annual Report of the National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD) published today by the Health Research Board.

The report provides the evidence on which national planning and delivery of services for people with physical and/or sensory disabilities is based. A total of 25,191 individuals were registered on the database in 2010. Males accounted for 53% of registrations on the database and females 47%. The types of disability most frequently recorded were: physical disability (14,445 individuals, 57%), hearing loss/deafness (1,448 individuals, 6%), visual disability (1,339 individuals, 5%), speech and language disability (2,527 individuals, 10%). More than half (59%), of the people registered on the NPSDD in 2010 had a primary carer.  

The data below illustrate the high level of current use and the future demand for rehabilitation and therapeutic services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

  • 21,389 individuals, or 85% of those registered on the database, were receiving therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation services in 2010 and 4,866 individuals required an enhancement to these services.
  • 11,955 individuals (48%) required assessment for these services.
  • 1,791 individuals (7%) were assessed and placed on a waiting list for the services.

In 2010 13,483 individuals, or over half of those registered on the database, were in receipt of day services and activities. 3,625 of these individuals require a modification or alternative to their existing service.  A further 3,020 individuals will require these services in the period 2011 - 2015.

Support services such as personal assistant, home help and home care were provided to 7,332 people (29%) in 2010. 1,051 individuals were recorded as requiring an enhancement to these services.  5,301 people (21%) required assessment for services of this type. Two-thirds of those registered on the database were using at least one technical aid and appliance.

The provision and demand for residential and respite care are also presented in the report. These show that 857 people (3%) were availing of a residential service and almost 3% of the individuals registered were not availing of any residential service in 2010, but required such a support. Demand for respite was higher with 13% of those registered on the database recorded as requiring assessment for respite services.

The NPSDD Annual Report also presents Measure of Activity and Participation (MAP) data which is based on the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). This provides a holistic view of disability by capturing information on the barriers, restriction and difficulties relating to everyday activities experienced by those with a physical and/or sensory disability.

The MAP data are collected for those aged 16 and over. This data was available for 12,444 individuals in 2010 and shows that:

  • The greatest barrier to participation was the physical environment (55%), closely followed by the climate/weather (49%) and income (38%).
  • The life areas where the greatest number of people experienced participation restriction were sports or physical recreation and socialising (both 56%).
  • 73% of respondents reported that the emotional effect of disability was the area where the greatest level of difficulty was experienced in the 30 days prior to the NPSDD interview.

For further information, please contact Sarah Craig, Head of National Health Information Systems, HRB 01 2345113, 087-1213945,


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