A new National Intellectual Disability Memory Service has been set up at Tallaght University Hospital to treat people with intellectual disabilities who are at high risk of developing dementia. The new centre is called the National Intellectual Disability Memory Service (NIDMS), a partnership with the Hospital, Trinity College Dublin and AVISTA. Initially a trial clinic, permanent funding has been provided by the HSE National Dementia Office. It is the only one of its kind in Ireland with only a handful of such clinics available internationally.
Research conducted by Trinity College Dublin found that by 65 years of age, 80% of people with Down syndrome will develop dementia, with the average patient reporting early onset of the illness at the age of 51. This compares to a rate of dementia in the general population of between 4% and 8% in people aged 65 and older.
Prof Seán Kennelly, NIDMS Clinical Director and Director of the TUH Institute for Memory & Cognition said, “This new Memory Clinic is a National Centre of Excellence and is rapidly improving the timely detection of dementia in people with an intellectual disability. I would like to pay tribute to the multidisciplinary team including specialist clinicians, nurses, psychologists, and health and social care practitioners. Their work in research and developing our dementia services over the past number of years has laid the groundwork for this important new service.”
The NIDMS service is guided by Professor Mary McCarron, a recognised global expert in dementia who is also the Director of the Trinity Centre for Aging & Intellectual Disability.