Response from the office of Minister Kathleen Lynch regarding services for people under 65 who have dementia

I received this response a few days ago from the office of the Minister Lynch and I wish to share it. I have some opinions to express on the Strategy and the Implementation Programme but for now I will publish it as it is. Anything in bold has been done so by me as these are areas I wish to discuss further. For those who are acquainted with some of this material feel free to share if you feel this will make a national impact with revised care packages/services.

Dear Rachel

Kathleen Lynch, Minister for Primary Care, Social Care (Disabilities/Older People) and Mental Health has asked me (Adrian McLaughlin, Private Secretary to Kathleen Lynch) to refer to your correspondence regarding services for people under 65 who have a diagnosis of dementia.

The National Dementia Strategy was published in December 2014 (Ed note: you can read it here in it’s entirety). It is estimated that there are currently 50,000 people with dementia in Ireland today. Furthermore, these numbers are expected to increase significantly in the years ahead. To date there is no dementia register in Ireland, which would detail a breakdown of demographic information such as age, gender, locality (by county) etc. Services that are currently available to people with dementia include:

  • GP services
  • Neurology services
  • Memory clinics
  • Community supports through primary care teams
  • Residential care if required

The aim of the Strategy is to improve dementia care so that people with dementia can live well for as long as possible, can have services and supports delivered in the best way possible, and can ultimately die with dignity.

The Strategy emphasises that most people with dementia live in their own communities and can continue to live well and to participate in those communities. The Strategy contains a set of priority actions capable of implementation within existing resources or by reconfiguring resources. It also contains a number of additional actions which may require resources additional to what is currently available and which will be considered as these become available in the future.

A number of priority areas for action for the National Dementia Strategy have been identified, which include the provision of integrated services, supports and care for people with dementia and their carers. To meet this priority, and to support the implementation of the strategy, The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Dept. of Health and the Health Service Executive have agreed a co-investment programme of €27.5m. This National Dementia Strategy Implementation Programme contains a number of elements which include:
·The rollout of a programme of Intensive Home Supports and Homecare Packages for people with dementia;

The provision of additional dementia-specific resources for GPs, who are the critical and initial point of contact with the health system for those with dementia;

· Measures to raise public awareness, address stigma, and promote the inclusion and involvement in society of those with dementia.

·The establishment of a National Dementia Office to progress the implementation of the strategy.

A significant element of this investment programme will focus on the delivery of intensive home care packages for people with dementia, with up to 500 people with dementia and their families expected to benefit from these packages over the lifetime of the implementation programme. The roll out of Intensive HCPs commenced in January 2015 and monitoring of the allocation and uptake of these packages to persons with dementia is ongoing. To date up to 100 people with dementia have benefited from this initiative. In addition to the Intensive HCPs the HSE will continue to provide mainstream home help and routine Home Care packages to people with dementia whose needs have been assessed as requiring these supports.

The National Dementia Strategy Implementation Programme referred to above has as one of its aims, the provision of additional dementia-specific resources for GPs, who are the critical and initial point of contact with the health system for those with dementia. This programme of work may assist in developing local pathways for GP’s to assess specialist assessments for GP’s who wish to refer people with dementia for such assessments As part of the strategy implementation programme, a project entitled PREPARED (Primary Care Education, Pathways and Research of Dementia) is underway. The objective is to design and implement primary care dementia education for GP’s and members of primary care teams (PCTs) and the delivery of education by supporting GP dementia experts to lead education, to map local dementia care pathways and to engage with and support GP’s and PCTs. This will aid GP’s primary care teams in supporting people with dementia from an early stage. (

The HSE, in partnership with key stakeholders, will implement a public awareness and health promotion campaign entitled ‘Dementia Friendly Ireland’. The aim of this campaign is to provide a better understanding of dementia in society, reduce stigma, and target populations particularly at risk.
As part of the implementation of the national dementia strategy, access that general practitioners and acute hospital clinicians have to specialist assessment and diagnosis is identified as a priority action. Addressing this action will form part of the overall implementation plan of the strategy, and consideration is presently being given to how best to progress this priority action.

The Alzheimer’s Society has appointed a number of Dementia Advisors (covering the following areas): County Sligo, County Leitrim and South County Donegal, South Dublin, North Dublin, Cork City, South Cork, West Cork and South Kerry, North Cork, Co. Limerick, South Clare, East Kerry, Tipperary, Cavan Monaghan, and Mayo.
To date the HSE National Dementia Education project have developed a suite of programmes suitable for delivery to health care staff and carers working in the Community, Residential Care and Acute Care services. The programmes are available free through HSE, Voluntary and ASI centres and on the Dementia Elevator and HSE Land website. ( –