OECD report recognises Ireland’s dementia care efforts

Ireland has fared well in an OECD report which states that most countries remain poorly equipped to identify dementia.

The report — looking at dementia care in 37 countries — found the majority of people with dementia living in care facilities continue to live in homes that are not designed for the needs of people with dementia, despite the fact close to 70% of nursing home residents have some form of cognitive impairment.

Just four countries — Ireland, Denmark, Norway, and Britain were named as having developed design guidelines and advice to make care facilities more suitable for the needs of people with dementia.

Ireland was also listed as one of four countries where improving data for dementia is recognised as a key policy in a national action and strategic plans.

The other countries were Switzerland, Britain, and the US.

Ireland was also cited as one of just four countries that has put in place guidelines for dementia-friendly design that lay out principles to help develop or adapt buildings and homes with the needs of people with dementia in mind.

Ireland featured strongly in terms of local and ad-hoc initiatives bridging the gap for services where none are available.

Specifically cited was a privately-funded Tipperary ‘Five Steps to Living Well with Dementia’ programme that provides support for people with dementia from the pre-diagnosis to end of life stages, including offering help from dementia support workers and ‘community connectors’ who can help people with dementia connect with resources and services in the area.

Prepare, a project to train primary care physicians in dementia management driven by a primary care practitioner in Cork, was also mentioned in the report as having developed a website with information on organisations providing support to people with dementia in the county.

Ireland, along with the Britain and Switzerland, was praised for undertaking audits or investigations of hospital care quality for people with dementia, the results of which have fed into policy recommendations and changes.

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