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 Header Item National Dementia Strategy Implementation (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2019: Message from Select Committee

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frank O'Rourke: Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke] I have engaged with the HSE, which is very supportive of what needs to be provided in north Kildare and is assisting and supporting the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in a positive way. Obviously, what is needed is funding, which would need to be approved and allocated to allow this two-day per week day care centre to be set up to assist people living with dementia.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. Many people with dementia are able to live long, fulfilling lives following their diagnosis, and fostering compassionate and inclusive communities can greatly improve the quality of life for persons with dementia and their families. It is Government policy that people should live and receive care in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

To support future development of services and supports for people with dementia, the National Dementia Office and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland undertook a joint project in 2016 and 2017 to map dementia-specific community-based services across the country. Information from the project is included in an online service finder on the Understand Together website so people can find out what services are available in each county. In north Kildare, the HSE offers a psychiatry of later life service in Naas, providing specialist mental health services to older people through a multidisciplinary team. This team works with GPs, hospitals and other local healthcare and social services, and St. John of God's, Liffey region, operates an intellectual disability memory clinic in Celbridge. As a population, the risk of developing dementia is much higher among those with an intellectual disability and among those with Down's syndrome in particular, and this service provides an early warning.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland runs a dementia-specific person-centred day centre in Kildare town, and day care centres in Maynooth and Monasterevin. People with dementia are also able to access generic day care services from a centre in Kildare. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland also operates one of its branches in Monasterevin, providing support and information at a local level, as well as support groups in Clane, Kilcock and Newbridge, a social club in Maynooth, Alzheimer cafés in Leixlip and Naas, and four dementia carer support groups across the county.

While there are gaps in access to services and a variation in what services are provided, efforts are ongoing to address this. To address the gap, and to meet the national dementia strategy objective that people with dementia should be facilitated to remain living in their own homes, €2.2 million has been secured through the 2018 dormant accounts action plan to test the concept of community-based resource or meeting centres for people living with dementia, offering a range of services, including day care services, information and advice services, peer and carer support, post-diagnostic support programmes, education and training, and psychological interventions. The National Dementia Office met senior HSE officials in CHO 7 to highlight service gaps and to provide guidance and support on dementia service planning and development. A dementia needs framework has been developed to support existing services. On a national level, as part of the national dementia strategy implementation programme, a range of supports have been introduced to assist people with dementia and their families and carers, including dementia-specific intensive home care packages and a training programme for GPs and primary care teams to help them to diagnose and manage dementia.

Assistive technology can play a role in the helping people manage their daily lives following a dementia diagnosis. A national network of memory technology resource rooms has been established with funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund, including one in County Kildare. These rooms allow people with dementia and their families to explore and test appropriate equipment which may assist them, enhancing independence, well-being and safety.

The Department of Health and the HSE are committed to ensuring that community services will continue to develop integrated working arrangements across health and social care settings. Specific services for people with dementia are included in this, and work will continue to ensure the provision of effective services to support people with dementia, their carers and families.

Deputy Frank O'Rourke: Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke I thank the Minister of State. I had acknowledged the policy was to support people living with dementia in their own homes and in communities. While he highlighted the services that are in place, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the day care centre group acknowledge they fall short, given the number of people living with dementia and the lack of other supports and services. We are trying to fill the gaps and improve the services.

I am not coming into the House to be critical of the Minister of State. I want to highlight the deficiency and to put forward a costing from the Alzheimer Society of Ireland which seems reasonable. I hope this can focus attention to deliver this day care centre. The day care centres in south Kildare to which he referred are a journey away, and the logistics of trying to get people there is difficult, as transport is not always available and the reality of living with dementia means it is not always possible for people to travel that distance. Given the demographics of north Kildare and its population, in particular the number of people living with dementia, I am trying to get the supports put in place to provide a day centre in the area which would start off by providing services on two days a week. The day care centre group, with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, has stated that if this was put in place, it would assist in a positive way people living with dementia and their families.

I want a commitment that this can happen. As the Minister of State said, the HSE is very supportive of this group and it acknowledges the good work being done. It also acknowledges that this service is required and it supports the call for it to be provided in north Kildare.

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy. I acknowledge his earnestness in this regard and his efforts to support people with dementia living in north Kildare, which I genuinely appreciate. As the Minister of State with responsibility for this area, I believe every Deputy's endeavours to highlight the lack of services available to the people they represent are always a positive, given we are here to try to address such matters and I wish to acknowledge that.

I confirm that I will speak with the HSE and the National Dementia Office, which is an integral part of implementing the strategy. I do not make the decisions on what goes where and it is not within my gift to decide that. However, I can focus attention on a particular issue and seek answers from the service delivery agent, which is the HSE, and from the National Dementia Office in order to get its view. The Deputy made compelling case regarding a gap in services in Kildare North and he pointed out that the services in Kildare South require people to undertake a journey. I presume a proposal has gone to the HSE for funding for this service.

Deputy Frank O'Rourke: Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke Yes. The proposal is for funding of €70,000 per annum, which would deliver a day care centre on two days every week, which would be brilliant.

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I am happy to follow up that application with the HSE and I will revert directly to the Deputy.

Estimates for Public Services 2019: Message from Select Committee

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Select Committee on Education and Skills has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimate for public services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2019 - Vote 26.

  Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m and resumed at 1.35 p.m.

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