The National Dementia Strategy requires the HSE to consider the provision of dementia advisers, based on the experience of demonstrator sites. In this context, an evaluation of the Dementia Adviser Service, which was published in September 2018, recommends the continuation and expansion of the service to ensure equity of access countrywide.
There are nine Dementia Advisers working in the Dementia Adviser Service established by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) in mid-2014. The service covers 12 counties: Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick, parts of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Dublin.
Seven of the 9 posts have been funded by the HSE since 2016, while the Mayo post is funded by Community Action on Dementia Mayo. €400,000 has been allocated by the HSE in each of the last 3 years towards the cost of the service and a commitment has been made to continue this funding in 2019 and in future years.
The network of Dementia Advisers is one of a number of dementia-related initiatives supported by the HSE. In 2018, the HSE granted €12.68 million to Section 39 organisations who deliver respite, home care, day care, cognitive stimulation therapy, social clubs and supports for family carers.
In addition, 443 dementia-specific intensive homecare packages have been delivered to enable older people with dementia to remain in their own homes, since the introduction of these packages at the end of 2014.
People with dementia are also able to avail of standard Home Support Services for Older People, on the basis of need and within the resources available. A total of €426 million has been allocated for home support services this year, delivering over 17.9 million home support hours to over 53,000 people.
In 2016 and 2017, the National Dementia Office partnered with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland on a project to map dementia-specific community-based services and supports. It provides a useful snapshot and baseline study into what, where and when dementia services are being offered, including in those counties that currently do not have access to a dementia adviser. The study has also been used to inform a service finder hosted on the National Dementia Office’s website at https://www.understandtogether.ie/get-support/service-finder/. This allows people to search for dementia-specific community services in their area.
The level of funding available for the Department of Health in 2020 and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE, including any plans to expand the Dementia Adviser service, will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process and National Service Planning.