Skip to main content
Normal View

National Dementia Strategy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 July 2020

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (1293, 1294, 1295, 1296)

Gino Kenny

Question:

1293. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health his views on the health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons living with dementia and their family carers; his further views on the lack of consideration and strategy in terms of addressing the unique needs of this group during the pandemic; if the omission of the group will be addressed by specifically including it in current and future discussions and debate in relation to Covid-19 and other public health strategies and policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15944/20]

View answer

Gino Kenny

Question:

1294. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health his views on a recently published report (details supplied); his further views on the conclusion in the report that policy and practice needs to focus on the way in which persons living with dementia and their informal and formal carers can be optimally supported; his plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15945/20]

View answer

Gino Kenny

Question:

1295. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if the concerns of health professionals and organisations working with persons with dementia and their families that dementia has not been included specifically in data collection related to Covid-19 mortality or in the public messaging being issued will be addressed; the way in which he will address the lack of emphasis placed on the complex needs of those impacted by dementia in the community and in residential settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15946/20]

View answer

Gino Kenny

Question:

1296. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health his views on whether persons with dementia and their family carers have been rendered invisible during the Covid-19 crisis; the way in which he will ensure that dementia is given high priority in terms of public health policy, research into its impact and future planning with regard to Covid-19; if the issuing of guidelines for the reopening of services and supports for persons and their families will be prioritised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15947/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1293 to 1296, inclusive, together.

My Department is aware of the report referred to by the Deputy, which will contribute to our learning on the impact of Covid-19 on people living with dementia and help to inform how we meet their needs as we plan for the resumption of services.

I would like to assure the Deputy that there has been a continued focus on meeting the needs of people living with dementia throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the Dementia Understand Together Campaign, led by the HSE, and collaboration with other key stakeholders, a range of initiatives and resources have been developed to ensure that people living with dementia stay safe, well and connected, during this time of crisis. In addition, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has played a key role in supporting people living with dementia in the home following the suspension of their day and respite services, through social and activity engagement calls, telephone support and family carer training.

The HSE has adapted its community services in order to provide a flexible response so that the needs of people with dementia continue to be met during the Covid-19 crisis. Primary care team support is operating nationwide, with referrals being made to community supports, including the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s dementia adviser service and the local authority community response forums. While home visits have been necessarily restricted, the HSE uses prioritisation and screening measures to identify clients needing home visits.

As the Deputy will be aware, people with dementia living in residential settings experience specific challenges. 23 Covid response teams have been established across network of Community Health Care Organisations (CHO) and these teams have geriatrician input, ensuring that the needs of the person living with dementia are incorporated into the overall plan for each nursing home.

As part of the public health follow-up of confirmed cases of Covid-19, information is routinely collected by the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre (HPSC) on whether a case has certain medical conditions, including chronic neurological disease. While I appreciate that many health professionals and organisations working with people with dementia would like to have dementia explicitly included as an underlying condition, the HPSC has to limit the number of conditions on its surveillance forms for the sake of brevity, as the people being interviewed are either caring for a very ill person or are very ill themselves.

The HSE is currently engaged in detailed operational planning across the primary and community sector that will underpin the phased resumption of community services, including supports for people with dementia, over the period ahead. This work will align with the recently published document “Service Continuity in a COVID Environment – A Strategic Framework for Delivery” which is available on the HSE’s website at https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/service-continuity-in-a-covid-environment-a-strategic-framework-for-delivery.pdf.

Top
Share