National Dementia Policy

The Irish National Dementia Strategy

Department of Health

The Irish National Dementia Strategy, led by the Department of Health, was launched on 17 December 2014. The ROI Government made a commitment in The Programme for Government 2011-2016 to develop a National Dementia Strategy for Ireland by 2013.

The development of the strategy was informed by a research review, a review of international dementia policies/plans/strategies, review of Irish policy contexts, public consultation process, clinicians’ roundtable (2) on the national dementia strategy, workshops (2) with people with dementia and carers, and National Dementia Strategy Advisory Group. The aim of the Strategy is to improve dementia care so that people with dementia can live well for as long as possible, can ultimately die with comfort and dignity, and can have services and supports delivered in the best way possible. The Strategy identifies key principles to underpin and inform the full range of health and social care services provided to people with dementia, their families and carers. Six Priority Areas for Action have been identified in the Strategy, as follows:

  • Better awareness and understanding

  • Timely diagnosis and intervention

  • Integrated services, supports and care for people with dementia and their carers

  • Training and education

  • Research and information systems

  • Leadership

For each of the Priority Action Areas, considered key to the implementation of the Strategy, objectives are outlined, the area is discussed and Additional Actions are also identified. In the context of resource constraints, some of the actions will be implemented based on a review and reconfiguration of existing resources, whilst others will be progressed as resources become available in the future. The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive have agreed a joint initiative with The Atlantic Philanthropies with initial funding of €27.5m, with The Atlantic Philanthropies contributing €12m, and the HSE contributing €15.5m, to be used to implement the Strategy over the period 2014-2017. The National Dementia Implementation Programme aims to promote a greater focus on timely diagnosis of dementia and on the value of early intervention, along with the long-term objective of making people in ROI generally more aware and understanding of the needs of people with dementia, and of the contribution that those with dementia continue to make to our society.

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.