Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland: A Regional Strategy

The Bamford Action Plan 2009-2011 (DHSSPS, 2009) included a commitment by government to develop a regional dementia services strategy.  A consultation process was carried out in 2010 to inform the development of the strategy.  This included consultation with a wide group of stakeholders and a targeted consultation for people living with dementia and their carers.  The strategy was formally launched in 2011 and aims to:

  • Promote a greater understanding of how dementia impacts on the lives of individuals, and how people can be supported to live well, with dignity and as valued members of our society.

  • Raise public awareness of dementia and how people can take some measures to reduce the risk of developing dementia or potentially delay its onset.

  • Encourage sharing of information on dementia to allow individuals, families and carers to make informed decisions.

  • Maximise independence and enhance daily living.

  • Respond to the voice of people with dementia and their carers, and promote access to earlier diagnosis and multidisciplinary assessment and support through further development of health and social care commissioning, thus placing the person with dementia, their families and carers at the centre of the care planning process.

  • Promote partnership working that recognises the pivotal role of carers and integrates the activity and skills of those who work in the statutory, community, voluntary and independent sectors.

The values underpinning the strategy are identified as dignity and respect; autonomy; justice and equality; safe, effective person-centred care; care for carers; and skills for staff.  A series of actions linked to one or more of these values were proposed.  These were reducing the risk or delaying the onset of dementia, raising awareness, promoting early assessment and diagnosis, supporting people with dementia, supporting carers, legislation and research.  The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety anticipated that the key actions required to improve services would be likely to cost an additional £6-8m per year. With additional support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, in September 2014 £11 million was allocated within the Delivering Social Change Initiative, targeting Raising Awareness; Information and Support for people living with dementia; Training and Development for those in the caring professions, both formally and informally; and Respite, Short Breaks & Support for Carers.   

Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland: A Regional Strategy