The Creating Excellence in Dementia Care report was commissioned by Atlantic Philanthropies to build a research evidence base in dementia services in Ireland to pave the way for an integrative and relevant National Dementia Strategy. The main objective of the grant was to accelerate the development of a National Dementia Strategy. The Excellence report was really the evidential impetus for its development with a focus on three key areas – public awareness, GP programmes and services related to the provision of intensive homecare packages.
The study reviewed current and future demographic rates of people over 65 to estimate the prevalence of dementia. It calculated the main economic costs of dementia care and reviewed the service provision that was in place as well as forecasting future demand for services. It also conducted a review of best practice in dementia care nationally and internationally.
On the Ground
The study was hugely influential in firstly informing the Dementia Working Group which oversaw the development of the Strategy and then in shaping a National Dementia Strategy that was hardwired into what was actually happening on the ground and what needed to change. The big challenge now is ensuring that the National Dementia Strategy is implemented in its entirety and progressed to the next level.
Personhood and citizenship were adopted as key principles in the Strategy, in line with the dominant philosophy of the Excellence report. The Excellence report also illuminated one key area in particular – that of diagnosis. It revealed that timely diagnosis of dementia was important for people with dementia.
The Excellence report also also highlighted the invisibility of dementia and the importance of creating a positive system response to diagnosis, particularly in developing person-centred care pathways focused on the needs and preferences of the person with dementia.