Guidance on How to Prepare for a HIQA Inspection

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In the healthcare industry, maintaining high standards of care and safety is of paramount importance. For nursing homes in Ireland, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) plays a crucial role in ensuring that residents receive high quality of care, in a safe environment.

HIQA conducts various types of inspections to evaluate nursing homes in line with the regulations, National Standards, and best practice guidance. Preparing for a HIQA nursing home inspection is a vital part of maintaining regulatory compliance and ensuring the well-being of residents.

In this blog, we provide an overview of the types of inspections, as well as guidance on best practices for nursing homes to successfully prepare for a HIQA inspection.

Types of Inspections

Inspections are not just on-site events that take place in the residential home. They can also happen through the management and review of all information about the centre held or received by the Chief Inspector of Social Services. The Health Act 2007 (as amended) requires the Chief Inspector to register and inspect designated centres to check whether or not the Registered Provider is complying with the regulations and national standards.

On-site inspections are categorised as follows:

There are various types of scheduling options for inspections, including planned announced inspections, short-notice announced inspections and unannounced inspections.

Planned Announced Inspections:

4 weeks advice notice is given to display poster informing residents and representatives of the inspection and ensure questionnaires completed in advance. Completed questionnaires may be returned to HIQA Regulatory Support Team or alternatively given to the Inspector on the day of the inspection. As part of the announcement of the inspection, Providers are also asked to submit certain information, such as their safeguarding policy and risk management policy.

Short-notice Announced Inspections:

These will only be used in exceptional circumstances. 24 to 48 hours notice is given in order to facilitate meetings.

Unannounced Inspections:

No advanced notice is given for unannounced HIQA inspections.

HIQA Inspection Checklist

When preparing for an announced HIQA inspection, focus on things that can be controlled including:

Staff Education

Resident Involvement


Management Involvement

Environment & equipment


Tips on how to prepare for an unannounced HIQA Inspection

Unannounced Inspections provide a more objective picture of the actual standards and level of compliance of a service. In cases where the inspection is unannounced, the service is subject to an assessment of what the quality and safety of care is today. It is argued that this approach is more reflective of the actual service provided.

Below are some tips on preparing for an unannounced HIQA inspection.


Preparing for a HIQA inspection in a nursing home is a comprehensive and ongoing process that involves careful planning, self-assessment, staff training, and a commitment to maintaining high-quality care and safety standards. By adhering to the regulations, National Standards, and best practice guidance, maintaining accurate records, and continuously improving your nursing home’s operations, you will support your regulatory compliance.

HCI has been working with health and social care organisations for almost two decades, supporting them to make intelligence driven decisions to attain, manage and improve quality, safety and regulatory compliance. HCI supports nursing homes in achieving compliance with regulations and best practice guidance. We provide practical, hands-on support, helping nursing homes to build comprehensive Quality and Safety Management Systems that assure the quality and safety of the care provided. We offer support in the development of policies and procedures, provide education and training, conduct independent quality audits and support governance and management teams in preparing for a regulatory inspection from HIQA.

For more information on HCI’s HIQA Regulatory Compliance Support for nursing homes contact HCI at 01 629 2559 or

Contact Us

For more information contact or Phone +353 (0)1 6292559.