11% Of Nursing Homes Have Dedicated Dementia Care

Just 11% of nursing homes in Ireland have dedicated dementia care units, according to new research by Trinity College Dublin.

The study, carried out by Trinity researchers from the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC), found low numbers of dementia-specific care units (SCUs) throughout the Republic of Ireland.

The research, which was carried out in late 2013, was led by Research Associate Professor Cahill. He said: "Of some concern is the fact that only 11% of all the Irish facilities surveyed have dedicated dementia units and, despite an expected increase in demand for long-term dementia care arising as a result of population ageing, only a small minority of Irish nursing homes intend opening dementia units."

There are currently 48,000 people living with dementia and 50,000 carers in Ireland. Researchers surveyed a total of 602 nursing homes in Ireland and found that found that only 54 nursing homes (11% of all those surveyed) provided dementia specific segregated care.

The research found that this was in contrast to up to to 33% in countries like the Netherlands and Norway. It also found that the bulk of the specialist care (63%) was provided by the private sector.

Commenting on the report, Tadhg Daly, (CEO, Nursing Homes Ireland) said: “This report is very timely and yet another 'eye-opener' for Government and policy stakeholders. We wholeheartedly welcome the research findings that the complex and high dependency needs of persons with dementia need to be realistically reflected in better resource allocation. The recommendation for a payment model that is commensurate with levels of care, staff training and skill mix, and type of non-pharmacological interventions is in keeping with Oireachtas Health Committee recommendation for evidence-based payments for nursing homes that incorporate real cost of care. This report highlights the willingness of our sector to meet the significant challenge of meeting the long-term care requirements of persons with dementia but the urgent necessity for appropriate policy and planning is outstanding."


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