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The European Foundations Initiative in Dementia (EFID) awards

The European Foundations Initiative in Dementia (EFID) awards took place recently with two Irish initiatives receiving awards. 

EFID are a network of foundations promoting improvement in the lives of persons with dementia by supporting the growth of a dementia friendly and inclusive environment in communities across Europe.

In 2017, the EFID Foundations announced the decision to award 12 initiatives across 10 European countries aimed at valuing the expertise of people living with dementia as an acknowledgement of their work in respecting the autonomy, dignity and right to self-determination of people living with dementia. The importance of listening to the voice of people living with dementia to value their expertise is prioritized in informing all of these initiatives. It is further acknowledged this may need to take different forms across a person’s journey but remains equally valuable throughout.

Twelve awards were presented at an event in Sofia, Bulgaria to initiatives across ten countries in Europe including two Irish projects from the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland and St James' Hospital.

The award presented to the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland (ASI) for the 'Forget the Stigma of Dementia - Learn Listen Link' campaign.  

The ASI established the Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG) in early 2013. The IDWG is a national advocacy group made up of people with dementia. The IDWG wish to run an advocacy campaign in 2018 “Forget the Stigma of Dementia – Learn Listen Link”. The campaign is an opportunity for the IDWG to engage in local advocacy work through their national and regional groups, while also raising public awareness about dementia. The members of the IDWG will take responsibility for the planning, development, delivery and content of the campaign, ensuring the voice of people with dementia is at the centre.

The award presented to St James' Hospital in Dublin was for the project ‘Wayfinding for people with dementia in a Dublin hospital.’

St James's Hospital, Dublin are involved in a large initiative 'DemPath,' which is funded by Genio, and within this undertook a project to improve the experiences of people with dementia within the hospital setting. The project ‘Wayfinding for people with dementia in a Dublin hospital’ included making environment changes to make it more dementia-inclusive. A wayfinding audit was undertaken involving people with dementia and all found the environment confusing but highlighted specific changes. Drawing on best practice examples environmental cues, including specially designed signage, have been introduced to help orientate people within a new building on the hospital campus. The aim is to extend this exemplar to key parts of the acute hospital.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the event consisted of moderated workshops for the 95 attendees from across Europe to facilitate the sharing of information and experience as well as creating networks for future engagement. Helen Rochford Brennan, Chair of the European working group of persons with dementia, was a member of the Awards Jury and delivered the keynote speech at the event.

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