The National Dementia Strategy in Ireland is the main policy document to emerge as part of Atlantic’s investment programme. Atlantic believed that the National Dementia Strategy provided a policy basis for a new and different approach to dementia in Ireland, which, if accompanied by the establishment of a National Dementia Implementation Programme (NDIP), would place dementia firmly on the government’s current and future social policy agenda and would, in time, deliver significant service reforms.
Atlantic’s work with grantees strengthened the resolve for the change that was required to make dementia a health policy priority. This shift in policy direction was then supported practically by Atlantic in the form of vital funding for the implementation of the Strategy.
It is fair to say that without Atlantic funding, some of the policy developments we have seen over the past five years would not have happened. There would not be as many intensive home care packages for people with dementia, for example, or a commitment to training and education for primary care providers in the dementia care sector.
In addition, to supporting the National Dementia Strategy, the Single Assessment Tool was co-funded under Atlantic’s dementia programme to provide an estimate of care needs, including dementia needs.
While the National Dementia Strategy emerged somewhat diluted from what was initially envisaged, it focused on five key areas of concern:
- Better awareness and understanding
- Timely diagnosis and intervention
- Integrated services and supports
- Training and education
The National Dementia Strategy in Ireland now needs additional resources and investment to build on the innovative work and progress that has been made to date and to ensure that it can continue to meet the needs, from diagnosis to care, of people with dementia and their families everywhere, both in urban and rural settings.
Tina Leonard, Alzheimer Society of Ireland