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Fri 05 May

FULLY BOOKED Putting the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 into Practice: a Social Work Perspective

Registration 9.15am, Event 10.00am - 3.00pm

Dunamaise Arts Centre Church Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

€30 IASW members/€100 non-members

Primary Care SIG Conference



A light lunch is included. Please email if you have any dietary requirements by Friday, 28th April.


The closest parking to the venue is the multistory on Church street, only one minute walk away. The Midlands Park Hotel and the Odeon Cinema are the entrance landmarks to the carpark.


After significant delays, the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will be commenced from the 26th April 2023. This will give functional assessment of capacity a statutory basis and will have implications for social work practice. Social workers are strong advocates and facilitators in supporting decision making and maximising a person’s capacity to make decisions and the event will demonstrate the critical role of the social work profession, building confidence within the profession and providing the opportunity for shared learning. We aim to do this by highlighting the work social workers currently do, learn from other social workers who have past experience of completing capacity assessment and by hearing from other professionals who are currently maximising decision making for our clients.




Aileen Curry is a Partner in Curry & Hickey Solicitors, a specialist healthcare firm. Prior to the establishment of the firm, Aileen worked as a Senior Solicitor in the Office of the General Solicitor for Minors and Wards of Court for 12 years.

Aileen specialises in the law relating to legal capacity, mental health, deprivation of liberty, vulnerable adults and minors. Aileen has a particular expertise in the area of eating disorders and is regularly appointed Guardian ad litem by the President of the High Court. Aileen is a member of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association (DSBA) Mental Health and Capacity and Probate and Tax Committees. Aileen is also a Committee Member of Solicitors for the Elderly.


Susan Doherty returned to college in her forties and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor in Social Studies (BSS) from Trinity College Dublin. Determined to work within the Primary Care system Susan took a position with the HSE Dublin North West Team and is currently based in Grangegorman PCC. Susan supports individual clients within the Dublin 7 catchment area and also serves as a point of contact offering guidance and support on the role of social work and available community supports to the wider Dublin 7 Primary Care clinician base of Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapist and Public Health Nurses.

While Dublin 7 has a diverse population it is acknowledged that there is a large demographic of elderly people who benefit from the input of Primary Care Social Work. Many of Susan’s clients live alone, with no family or next of kin. In such circumstances, individuals may not have anyone to advocate for them and may be unknown to support services. Following emergencies, such as a fall in the home, clinicians within the hospital environment frequently identify the need for community supports such as having a home de cluttered and deep cleaned to support a safe discharge. Primary Care Social Work is central to this process and ensuring that clients are supported to return home. Primary Care Social Workers must undertake the delicate process of gaining the client’s trust, practicing in a non-judgmental, person centered way and working with the client at their pace to ensure that their independence and individual goals are promoted.

Susan will present on her experiences of Primary Care Social Work detailing some of the challenges of the role in addition to the benefits of social work support and key considerations to supporting client satisfaction/ goal achievement.


Lorraine Dolan graduated from Carlow College in 2001 having completed Applied Social Studies in Social Care. Lorraine commenced employment in the disability sector and following this spent many years in the area of High Support Residential Care in the Carlow/Kilkenny area.

Following this, Lorraine established the childcare service of the Amber Women’s Refuge in Kilkenny for Women and children affected by Domestic Violence. In 2008 Lorraine went on to establish a Family Support Project in Templemore for Tipperary Regional Youth Services. In 2015 Lorraine established the Youth Justice Project in Southill, Limerick, which still continues to enhance the lives of young people who have come to the attention of the law.

Following this Lorraine worked for a time on a consultancy basis with North Tipperary Community Services in developing and delivering a variety of programmes for both teenagers and parents around challenging issues that were impacting on their lives. Prior to commencing employment with Sage as Regional Coordinator for the Midwest, Lorraine was Family Carer Support Officer for Family Carers Ireland covering North Tipperary and Clare.


Ciara Lawlor has been working as a social worker for 16 years both in England and in Ireland. After obtaining her Masters in Social Work from University of Liverpool in 2005, Ciara worked as a social worker in a Community Adult Social Work team in Merseyside for 10 years. She worked with vulnerable adults, which included those with physical or intellectual disabilities, older people, and those living with dementia. Ciara worked under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in England, and undertook functional assessments of capacity in day to day practice. After moving to Limerick, she worked for 4 years in University Hospital Limerick, in various depts such as Stroke and Neurology, Oncology, and the Emergency Department. She has also worked in Milford Hospice inpatient unit with those with Life Limiting conditions, and those receiving end of life care. For the last 18 months ago, Ciara has been working in Primary Care Social Work in Limerick City.