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An Irish National Survey of Dementia in Long-Term Residential Care

Cahill, S., O'Nolan, C., O' Caheny, D. and Bobersky, A.
Dementia Services Information and Development Centre.
This is a national survey undertaken by the Dementia Services and Information Development Centre (DSIDC) to gather information on the number and location of Specialist Care Units providing care to people with dementia in long-stay residential care settings in Ireland.
A survey developed for self-administration by nursing home staff was completed by 469 nursing homes, the majority of which were privately operated. Of the 469 nursing homes, 54 self-identified as a SCU. These 54 SCUs accommodated 1, 034 people with dementia, and had a total of 66 respite beds. The survey found considerable geographical differences regarding the location of SCUs and waiting times for admission to SCUs also varied substantially. The average number of residents in the SCUs was 19. The majority of SCUs were privately operated, and in these SCUs residents were more likely to have a private room and bathrooms. Almost 20% of SCUs surveyed provided no opportunities to residents to enable them participate in household activities. Just over one-half had an open door visiting policy. All nursing and health care assistants had received dementia care training in about one-half of the 54 SCUs. The report discusses these findings in the context of Ireland’s funding model for nursing home care, international best practice on dementia specific SCUs, national standards in Ireland on residential care settings for older people, and best practice in end of life care for people with dementia.