Thursday, 29 September 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Frank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source
I thank Deputy Cahill for raising this issue. Improving services for people with dementia is a priority for the Government and the past three years have seen significant new investment in dementia-specific support services and care countrywide. Next year will see a further €12.16 million investment dedicated to dementia and this is in addition to the cumulative €27.9 million provided across 2021 and 2022.
I will bring the Deputy's concerns back to the Minister of State, Deputy Butler. In fairness to her, she is very much to the forefront of fighting for funding in her area and is a pleasure to work with in the Department. This funding over three years is allowing for the rapid expansion of dementia diagnostic services and post-diagnostic supports through the provision of new memory assessment and support services as well as two new specialist memory clinics in Cork and Galway. It is also providing for numerous other initiatives including: dementia-specific day care; quality improvements in hospital and mental healthcare; improved access to the National Dementia Adviser Service; dementia-specific education for home support workers; and the implementation of a national clinical guideline on the appropriate prescribing of psychotropic and antipsychotic medication. In addition, it is targeted at increasing the proportion of new home support hours specifically for people with dementia to 50% in 2023, which is up from 5% in 2021 and 11% in 2022.
In recent years the national network of memory technology resource rooms has expanded to 23 centres. Of these, two are located in County Tipperary. One is in Thurles and the other in Clonmel. These provide an occupational therapist assessment and guidance along with the opportunity to find out about assistive technology options to help manage memory difficulties. Dementia-specific day care is provided in Clonmel and Thurles and taken together all these investments are rapidly improving access to diagnostics, post-diagnostic supports and ongoing care for people with dementia.
While national policy on care for older people is focused on supporting people to remain at home for as long as possible, the national dementia strategy recognised that for some people long-term residential care may be required when home care is no longer feasible or appropriate. A majority of people with dementia reside in generic residential care facilities and this is reflected in the 2016 revised HIQA National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland. The standards place a strong focus on quality of life and a person-centred approach to care for all residents, including those with dementia.
With regard to residential care for people with dementia in north Tipperary, following a meeting last month at Government Buildings, HSE mid-west community healthcare is preparing an options appraisal document for older people services in the north Tipperary area. As agreed at the meeting, the service is reviewing all options for the Dean Maxwell unit and the progression of the new older persons unit in Nenagh. The service is also examining the overall requirements for older people services in the region. HSE mid-west community healthcare is committed to delivering the best possible older people services to the people of north Tipperary and it is expected an options paper will be presented in quarter 4 of 2022. As for dementia-specific residential care services provided in south Tipperary, the Cashel residential older people services provides an 11-bed dementia-specific service for women configured as nine single rooms and one double. All other long-term residential beds are profiled as generic beds in order to meet the need.
The Deputy talked about the great facilities and excellent care in Bruff, County Limerick. I will also bring that to the Minister of State's attention.