Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Implementation of National Dementia Strategy: Statements (Resumed)


1:10 pm

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the opportunity to speak about the implementation of the national dementia strategy which was launched in December of last year and is delivering on a commitment in the programme for Government to develop and implement a national strategy for Alzheimer's disease and other conditions. The strategy has been designed to increase awareness, thereby ensuring early diagnosis and intervention. It has also been designed to ensure enhanced and improved community-based services will be developed. It is a stated aim of the strategy that people suffering from dementia will continue to live in their own communities and live active, healthy lives.

The strategy lays down a number of key principles, including the need to take account of dementia in the implementation of existing and future health policies. People suffering from dementia will be encouraged to participate in society and their own communities as fully as possible for as long as possible. End of life care for those suffering from dementia will be prioritised and provided in the most appropriate settings. All those caring and providing services for people suffering from dementia should be fully trained and supervised. Resources should be directed to provide the best possible outcome for those suffering from dementia, their families and carers.

I am delighted to note that the HSE and the Department of Health have agreed a joint initiative with Atlantic Philanthropies in order that significant elements of the strategy can be implemented during the period 2014 to 2017. I commend all parties involved in this initiative which will see €27.5 million invested in the national dementia strategy implementation programme. I would like to see more such initiatives in the future. I note that a national office has been established and will be dedicated to overseeing implementation of the strategy. A general manager and a senior project manager have been appointed. I also note that a draft implementation plan has been developed and was recently presented for discussion at the first meeting of the monitoring group and that a final plan will be presented in June. It is welcome that governance arrangements have been established, a monitoring group is in place and that its membership and terms of reference have been agreed. I urge all parties involved in this process to keep up the good work and ensure the plan is implemented as soon as possible.

Alzheimer's disease and dementia affect families all over Ireland. I know only too well the difficulties faced by the families and friends of those suffering from dementia. It can be very difficult to watch a loved one suffer the effects of dementia. I take the opportunity to mention some of the wonderful services being provided in my constituency. The Birches Alzheimer Day Centre, Priorland Road, Dundalk was opened in June 2000 and is a great example of how a community can come together to provide worthwhile services for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia. I must also mention the Birches Alzheimer Day Centre, Rath Abbey, Carlingford and the Drogheda day care centre at St. Laurence's Gate. There are some brilliant support groups in operation, including the Drogheda support group and the Dundalk support group. The Netwell Memory Clinic is available on the third Thursday of every month and part of the Alzheimer's café initiative. It is an excellent service which provides a warm and welcoming space for dementia sufferers, their families and friends, as well as social and health care professionals to meet on a monthly basis to exchange ideas.

I praise the work done to date in the implementation of the national dementia strategy by all those involved. I encourage them to continue their good work to ensure the plan will be fully implemented as soon as possible.


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