As a response to the challenges facing people with dementia and their families and carers, the National Dementia Strategy was launched in December 2014. The Strategy seeks to change the attitudes of wider society towards dementia and ensure that people with dementia can continue to live well and participate in their communities. It recognises that, with the right supports and services, people with dementia can live long, fulfilling lives after a diagnosis.
To support future development of services and supports for people with dementia, the National Dementia Office and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland undertook a joint project in 2016 and 2017 to map dementia-specific community-based services across the country. Information from the project is included in an on-line service finder on the Understand Together website so people can find out what services are available in each county.
Gaps remain in access to services and there is a large variance in what services are provided across the country. The National Dementia Office has met with senior HSE officials in each CHO area to highlight service gaps in each area and to provide guidance and support on dementia service planning and development across the country. In addition a Dementia Needs Analysis Framework was developed to support services.
Officials in the Department of Health have raised the provision of dementia services in Co. Roscommon with the HSE. The HSE has advised that its Head of Finance in Community Healthcare West met a delegation from Western Alzheimer's on 24th January concerning the annual Service Level Agreement between the parties. The proposal for the provision of day respite in the Sacred Heart Hospital will be considered as part of the Service Level Agreement process.
The Department of Health and the HSE are working to ensure that a range of community services and supports are made available for people with dementia across the country, subject to the availability of additional resources, and cognisant of the large number of areas competing for finite resources. The National Dementia Office is also working to ensure that existing community health and social care services are optimised to meet the needs of people with dementia.