Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Living Matters, Dying Matters: A Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy for Adults in Northern Ireland

Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

This strategy identifies palliative and end of life care as a continuum of care that can evolve as a person’s condition progresses.

 The five year Strategy sets out a vision and direction for service planning and delivery, within the existing legal framework.  The strategy includes dementia among the chronic conditions considered and refers to the work already completed in “Dementia; NICE-SCIE Guideline on Supporting People with Dementia and their Carers in Health and Social Care” (NICE 2006). 

Bamford Action Plan 2012-2015

Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

The Bamford Action Plan (2009-2011) was produced in response to the Bamford Review (2007) - an independent review of mental health and learning disability law, policy and service provision commissioned by the DHSSPS  This 2012-2015 plan carries forward the work of the earlier Bamford Action Plan, and in terms of dementia commits to continuing to improve dementia services in line with the dementia strategy in NI, with its emphasis on ensuring that people with dementia are treated with awareness and respect, especially by those providing services, and that they are supported to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Transforming Your Care: A Review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland

Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

In December 2011 following an extensive consultation process the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety published a report on the review of health and social care services.  This included a new model of care for NI based on 12 key principles:

  • Placing the individual at the centre of the model by promoting a better outcome for the service user, carer, and their family

  • Using outcomes and quality evidence to shape services

  • Providing the right care in the right place at the right time

  • Population-based planning of services

  • A focus on prevention and tackling inequalities

  • Integrated care – working together

  • Promoting independence and personalisation of care

  • Safeguarding the most vulnerable

  • Ensuring sustainability of service provision

  • Realising value for money

  • Maximising the use of technology

  • Incentivising innovation at a local level

Work continued after the report was published to develop implementation plans, including a further consultation process that resulted in the publication of: The Vision to Action Consultation Report.

The final strategic implementation plan was published in October 2013.

Making Life Better: A Whole System Strategic Framework for Public Health, 2013-2023

Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Making Life Better is NI’s ten-year strategic framework for public health. Building on the earlier public health strategy, Investing for Health (2002), Making Life Better was developed to provide a direction for policy and actions to improve the health and wellbeing of people in NI.

It was informed by a consultative process and feedback on the draft framework titled Fit and Well: Changing Lives.  

Through strengthened co-ordination and partnership working in a whole system approach, Making Life Better seeks to create the conditions for individuals and communities to take control of their own lives and move towards a vision for NI where all people are enabled and supported in achieving their full health and wellbeing potential.

Making Life Better has adopted a set of values to underpin the strategy – social justice, equity and inclusion, engagement and empowerment, collaboration, evidence informed, and addressing local need. Based on feedback during the consultation, it takes a thematic approach structured around six themes:

  1. Giving Every Child the Best Start

  2. Equipped Throughout Life

  3. Empowering Healthy Living

  4. Creating the Conditions

  5. Empowering Communities

  6. Developing Collaboration

Apart from Theme 1 which focuses on the health and wellbeing of children, each of the other five themes is relevant to people with dementia and their families. Healthy Active Ageing, one of the key long-term outcomes of the second theme ‘Equipped Throughout Life’, is of particular relevance to older people, including those with dementia. One of the long-term outcomes identified under the theme of ‘Empowering Healthy Living’ is improved mental health and wellbeing. Here, the report highlights the intention in the development of a new positive mental health promotion policy in NI to address two main undertakings in relation to dementia:

  • public health efforts to prevent/delay dementia as far as possible and to encourage early diagnosis; and

  • improving the mental wellbeing of people who have dementia.

A final report on the public health strategy, Investing for Health (2002), referred to above,   can be found at

Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland: A Regional Strategy

Dept. of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

The Bamford Action Plan 2009-2011 (DHSSPS, 2009) included a commitment by government to develop a regional dementia services 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.   

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