New Support Services for People Diagnosed with Dementia

New services to support people after they receive the life-changing diagnosis of dementia are being made available around the country.   Announced this week, 18 grants of €25,000 each have been awarded nation-wide, funded through Dormant Accounts via the Department of Health and the HSE’s National Dementia Office. 

The ‘Dementia Post-diagnostic Grant Scheme’ (PDS) aims to improve access to supports for people with dementia after their diagnosis. Specifically, the grant scheme is facilitating skilled health professionals e.g. occupational therapists, nurses, psychologists etc. to deliver supports that enable and assist people with dementia, and their families, to live well with dementia building on their individual strengths and abilities. The supports include; cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation therapies and/or dementia psycho-education programmes.

A central component of the scheme is that the funding is to be used for staff costs to enable the delivery of these interventions across the country. Two grants have been made available this week in each of the 9 Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) areas and the services will be available, by referral, from September this year.

Some examples of the therapeutic interventions that will be available include:

  • Home-based memory rehabilitation programme
    This is an OT led programme, designed for people who experience memory difficulties in their everyday life. Memory impairment can result in difficulties in daily activities such as work, shopping, managing finances, taking medications and cooking. It can also impact upon personal activities including hobbies and social outings. The aim of the programme is to teach techniques to compensate for everyday memory difficulties. These techniques have been proven to help maintain a person’s independence, personal identity skills and self-confidence, making everyday tasks easier. Sessions will take place over 4-6 weeks in the person’s home and will involve the person with dementia and a family member or carer.
  • Six-week psycho-educational programme
    This is for the person living with dementia and their families/ carers to provide education on topics related to dementia, teach skills to enhance coping and resilience, as well as providing a forum for informal support from other people with similar concerns.

Mary Manning, HSE National Dementia Office said: “These new supports aim to help people with dementia to continue living well in the community, to provide information and support and to help people to manage issues as a result of getting a diagnosis. We are very hopeful that the interventions will have a positive, supportive and meaningful impact for both the person with dementia and family carers. We look forward to working closely with the services in supporting the delivery and evaluation of the PDS Scheme”.

The dementia post-diagnostic grant scheme is part of a broader dementia post-diagnostic project, led by the HSE’s National Dementia Office and overseen by a national group made up of a range of agencies, including the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI), the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) and representatives of those living with dementia from the Dementia Carers Campaign Network (DCCN) and the Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG).  It is also part of the overall implementation of the National Dementia Strategy which recognises that following a diagnosis, people with dementia need considerable emotional and practical support.

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