Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch today (Wednesday 17th December 2014) launched the Irish National Dementia Strategy. This honours the commitment in the Programme for Government to develop a national Alzheimer’s and other dementias strategy to increase awareness, ensure timely diagnosis and intervention, and develop enhanced community based services.
The Strategy sets out a number of principles to underpin the provision of care and supports for people with dementia including:
- taking account of dementia in the development and implementation of existing and future health policies;
- encouraging the participation of people with dementia in society and in their own communities as fully as possible for as long as possible;
- the prioritisation of end-of-life care in an appropriate setting for those with dementia;
- appropriate training and supervision for all those caring for or providing services to people with dementia;
- directing resources to provide the best possible outcome for those with dementia, and for their families and carers.
Speaking at the launch of the Strategy, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, “As Taoiseach, I am determined that dementia, or indeed old age, should not rob people of what is so valuable to them: their choice and their control over their lives, their privacy and their dignity. Central to the strategy is something that is characteristically taken away from people living with dementia and that is awareness. We want to increase awareness of dementia in the community so that we can act faster and smarter to ensure early diagnosis, treatment and that all-important support, particularly with community-based services."
The Tánaiste Joan Burton said, “Respect for the independence and dignity of the individual underpins this Strategy from the start. Many of the Actions are achievable without a large financial cost but yet they can, if we implement them effectively, make a real difference to the lives of those affected by dementia.”
Minister for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch said, “The very mention of dementia can cause fear and confusion for everyone with those affected not knowing where to turn. Those who come into contact with a person living with dementia are often similarly confused. Reducing this confusion, correcting misinformation and misunderstandings, and focussing on what is possible at every stage of the condition, instead of what is not, are all important parts of what this Strategy is about. The generous support of Atlantic Philanthropies will allow us to implement critical actions far quicker than would otherwise have been possible, and this will not only bring direct benefits, but will also allow care approaches to be tested and refined on the basis of hard evidence.”
The Atlantic Philanthropies Country Director Mary Sutton commented, “Today’s announcement of Atlantic backing for the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy follows a period of 3 years of targeted investment by Atlantic in specific dementia initiatives totalling €14m and attracting €10m in co-funding from Government. This support, which is additional to what is being announced today, included expanded workforce training and development through Dublin City University, assembly of local demonstrations of effective person centred supports through community consortia in 4 areas around the country mobilised by Genio, innovations in end of life care for people with dementia in partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation, and the launch by Third Age Foundation of advocacy services with a particular focus on people with dementia. Earlier this year Atlantic also concluded an agreement with the Health Research Board for a co-funded Investment Programme in Applied Dementia Research and Capacity.
These building blocks, carried out in collaboration with Government and a range of agencies, have provided the foundations for today’s additional announcements and mean that now, for the first time, there will be a concerted and co-ordinated national programme of implementation to improve the lives of people living with dementia into the future”.