National dementia plan outlines home care for sufferers

The Government has announced a new dementia plan that allows sufferers to be treated in their own home.

It also outlines a number of principles to support the provision of care for those living with the disease.

Between now and 2017, more than €27m will be spent on the strategy, with funds going towards home supports, an awareness campaign, and GP resources.

About 50,000 people in Ireland suffer from dementia. By 2041, it is expected there will be more than 140,000 sufferers as the number of older people increases.

Launching the Irish National Dementia Strategy, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was happy to announce “intensive home care packages” for sufferers.

“Home is so important to all of us. And I believe it is absolutely vital that people be allowed stay, to live, and to die in their own home if that is where they want to be,” he said.

“We are also paying attention to end-of-life care so that people affected by dementia are assured of the greatest privacy and dignity in their last weeks and days.”

Key aspects of the strategy include: n The distribution of dementia-specific information and guidance material to GPs; n Appropriate training and supervision for all those caring for or providing services to people with dementia; n A public awareness campaign to dispel myths and reduce stigma; n The prioritisation of end-of-life care in an appropriate setting for sufferers; n The rollout of a programme of intensive home supports and home care packages.

The plan is a joint initiative between the Department of Health, the HSE, and Atlantic Philanthropies — the non-profit organisation is contributing €12m with the HSE providing €15.5m.

Of Atlantic Philanthropies’ contribution, Mr Kenny said:

”I thank them for their magnificent work in this project and many others in the promotion of mental health and well-being across the country.”

Mary Sutton of Atlantic Philanthropies said the move follows three years of targeted investment in specific dementia initiatives.

“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,” she said.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland welcomed the plan but stressed that it alone will have little impact without effective implementation.

Chief executive Gerry Martin said: “The hard work starts now, and political will and leadership are what are needed to ensure there is a strategic approach to dementia care in this country and that further strategies are planned.”

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