The international consensus for action on dementia provided an important framework and backdrop for Atlantic’s investment in Ireland. But the progress achieved is also now an exemplar for international agencies and other countries of what can be achieved when all of the relevant agents and agencies find a way of working together to achieve a common goal.
This is not to suggest that a desire for change did not exist in Ireland prior to Atlantic’s involvement. However, Atlantic built on this existing capacity and collaboration among stakeholders to effect real change and then worked with government to help implement that change.
The comprehensive and full ranging Atlantic investment programme has created a framework for a new approach to dementia care, which can, and is designed to be, replicated across the world in societies facing an escalating dementia challenge.
Here are five key elements that helped ensure the success of the Atlantic dementia programme in Ireland.
- Grantees were carefully chosen based on prior work and experience along with a clear and indepth understanding of the dementia landscape.
- Values mattered. Major grants were designed to support brain health, personhood, citizenship and community-based care in a coordinated and integrated manner.
- There was a close and credible relationship between Atlantic and government. Atlantic had already established its bona fides through its work in higher education in Ireland, but new relationships were forged within the dementia policy-making community, making it easier to get traction on jointly funded projects.
- Key ideas fitted the prevailing mood and priorities of government, as evidenced by the partnership agreements reached on the National Dementia Strategy between Atlantic and the Department of Health.
- Research and evaluation were built into all grants, providing the framework for evidence-based decision-making and a clear rationale for resource allocation for grantees and for government.
“The Global Brain Health Institute is brought about really to try and tackle this major health and societal challenge that is dementia and the idea is that we will over the next fifteen years train up to six hundred people as game changers or leaders, champions that will tackle the problem of dementia worldwide.”
Dr. Brian Lawlor, Trinity College Dublin