Model of Care aims to enable people with dementia live as independently as possible

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Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler marked World Alzheimer’s Day 2023 by announcing over 160 staff were being recruited to support the development of new Memory Services across Ireland for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

World Alzheimer’s Day called for focus on identifying risk factors to delay and potentially prevent onset of dementia under “never too early, never too late” theme.

The Minister said the Government had invested over €12 million in dementia services and supports for those living with dementia in 2023.

Ten new Memory Assessment and Support Services were being established in Mayo, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, Cavan/Monaghan, Donegal, Kerry, Limerick, Mullingar and Galway. In each location, multidisciplinary teams consisting of medical, nursing and therapy staff would undertake up to 300 new assessments per year and serve a population of up to 150,000 people.

For more complex cases of dementia, new staff were being recruited to the existing Regional Specialist Memory Clinics in St. James’s Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin, while new Regional Specialist Memory Clinics would also open in Cork and Galway. Each would perform 500 new assessments per year and serve a population of 1 million people in each location. The new personnel were being recruited in line with the staffing recommendations set out in the Model of Care for Dementia published earlier this year. An Intellectual Disability Memory Service was already operational at Tallaght University Hospital.

Minister Butler, said, “Establishing these new Memory Services will make sure that there is timely access to both diagnosis and post-diagnostic supports, and a reduction in waiting times. Timely diagnosis is key in the treatment of dementia, and advances in disease-modifying therapies and brain health interventions will be key tools to slow progression of the illness and maintain a person’s quality of life.

“This year the Government has invested over €12 million in dementia services and supports to ensure that those living with dementia have access to the right services and supports to help them to live well in their communities. I would like to thank the Alzheimer Society of Ireland who work closely with the on many important dementia initiatives. This relationship has proven to be very productive as evidenced by the increase in necessary dementia-specific supports.

“There are at least 64,000 people living with dementia in Ireland today. It is crucial that the right supports are in place at the right time both before and after diagnosis.

“We know the particular importance of day supports for people with dementia and their families and we have provided €2.1 million to ensure that dementia-specific day care can return to full capacity in a post-pandemic environment. In addition, day care at home continues for people with dementia who cannot, or do not wish to, attend a day care centre. Many people with dementia also avail of wider day care services, and in May I was pleased to announce the allocation of €3.5 million to support day care centres throughout the country.”