The HSE’s National Dementia Office (NDO) and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (The ASI) will host an online webinar to launch the expanded National Dementia Adviser Service today (Wednesday, 10th November).
The event will hear from Mary Butler TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and HSE National Dementia Office.
The webinar will also have contributions from Dementia Adviser Vanessa Bradbury in conversation with dementia advocate Kathleen Quinlan from the Irish Dementia Working Group; Regina Lafferty, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Mental Health Services; and Dementia Advisers Joanne Brennan and Maeve Montgomery, Amy Murphy and Sean Donal O’Shea.
The expansion of this important service will ensure Dementia Advisers are in place across the country and providing a vital service for thousands of people living with dementia and their family carers.
A Dementia Adviser is a point of contact for people who are concerned about their cognitive health or who have a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia advisers enable people to take control of their own lives by providing support, practical assistance, advice and information, and signposting people with dementia and their carers to appropriate services and supports.
The launch will be an excellent opportunity to provide an update to health care teams and health and social care professionals and to promote integration of the Dementia Adviser Service as part of the care pathway for people living with dementia. On the day presentations will include people who have accessed and benefited from the service.
In September 2020, the HSE approved funding for the provision of an additional 10 Dementia Adviser posts and a coordinator post from the allocation for the Sláintecare Enhanced Community Care Fund. A further 11 Dementia Adviser posts were funded in 2021.
The HSE continues to partner with The ASI to deliver this vital service. The NDO is working with The ASI to support and enhance further integration of the Dementia Adviser Service within existing HSE and Community, providing a seamless pathway of care. The posts have been recruited by The ASI funded through a Service Level Agreement with the HSE and a joint HSE and ASI Oversight Governance Group has been established.
Mary Butler TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People said “I have long advocated for the enhancement of services and supports for people with dementia and their families and was pleased to secure funding in this year’s budget for 11 new dementia advisers, bringing the total number of advisers to 28 nationally. The National Dementia Adviser Service is a perfect example of the type of support we need for people living with dementia.
“Building on the investment made this year in community-based dementia services, I have secured an additional €7.3 million in Budget 2022 for dementia which will allow for further developments, including in the areas of memory assessment and support, memory technology resource rooms, the implementation of the dementia registry and dementia audit within acute hospitals and the national intellectual disability memory service.
“In addition, the proportion of new home support hours that will be ring-fenced for people with dementia will more than double from 5% in 2021 to 11% in 2022.
“This investment, including the dedicated funding allocated to expand the dementia adviser service, will provide invaluable support to people living with dementia and their families in communities nationwide. I would like to commend the hard work and commitment of all those involved in the delivery of these service enhancements.”
Janette Dwyer, Assistant National Director, HSE Services for Older Person’s and Dementia Care, Change and Innovation said “The HSE is committed to the delivery and enhancement of Dementia Services and the National Dementia Advisory Services. A key part of our success to date, has been the ongoing collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and other important stakeholders across the country. This has ensured the development and promotion of an emerging care pathway for people living with dementia.
“The Dementia Adviser undertakes a key role in providing locally based individualised information and support to people diagnosed with dementia and their carers/supporters, at all stages of their journey, from diagnosis through to end-of-life care. The Services provides a first point of contact to people in respect of available local services with referral from a diagnosing clinician.
“The expansion of the Dementia Advisory Service is one of the key deliverables of the HSE National Service Plan 2021 and the National Dementia Strategy. The launch of the expanded National Dementia Advisory Service is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved in this important programme of work. The HSE acknowledge the support of Minister Butler in ensuring the enhancement of this important service and we look forward to further developing services into the future.”
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland CEO Pat McLoughlin said: “Dementia Advisers offer a lifeline to people in their communities. It’s great to reach the point where everyone in Ireland who wants or needs access to this key community service can do so – no matter what part of the country they live.
“I would like to say thanks to the expertise of the Dementia Advisers, the National Dementia Office, politicians, grassroots efforts and our staff over many years that have all recognised the need for an expanded Dementia Adviser service.
“Today is further recognition that more dementia supports are badly needed for people right across the country. Each and every day, the Dementia Adviser team demonstrate the value and impact of the service and the evaluation of the service has provided a strong evidence base for its expansion.
“I would also like to thank Minister Mary Butler and all the political support, the National Dementia Office, the HSE and Sláintecare for their ongoing work in making today possible. I am delighted that the service is now operating in every county and I am hopeful that we can build the service further in the years ahead.”