NHI Letter to Irish Examiner re Dementia Care
It followed publication by a letter to the Editor calling upon the Ministers for Finance and Health to plan and build standalone dementia units.
NHI letter reads as follows:
I refer to letter published 30th March, Dementia patients need own facilities. The terminology used by the letter writer is very troubling and will serve no purpose in informing the national conversation that is required to enable us provide optimum support and services to people with dementia.
He refers to a “grim reality” for people who are diagnosed with dementia and advances hospitals are “bedblocked” with “the heavies” of “cases” of people nearing end-of-life with dementia.
With little discernible and no evidential reasoning, he advances the building of “stand-alone units” for the people affected by the “grim reality” he refers to. We should question the motive of what Cllr Collins is pursuing – an isolationist policy?
Creating Excellence in Dementia Care, 2012, is the preeminent study that has assessed the prevalence of dementia in Ireland and service provision. It informs the majority of persons with dementia are living within the community (66%), with approximately one third (34%) residing in nursing home care. It projected 63% of persons within nursing home care have dementia, completely refuting Cllr Collins point that most nursing homes “do not want to get involved with this type of patient”.
Furthermore, the Irish National Survey of Dementia in Long-Term Residential Care wasthe first comprehensive survey that was undertaken to map demographic data with provision of specialist dementia care. It informs private and voluntary nursing homes are the lead and majority provider of specialist dementia care, providing 63% of such specialist care.
It’s analysis of 469 nursing homes informed HSE operated facilities, which receive average payments 50% above private counterparts, were more restrictive with their admission criteria, and were more inclined to refuse admission to those not independently mobile.
Persons residing within nursing home care have high dependency care requirements, requiring the continuous support of specialist nursing and care staff, and dedicated dementia focussed activities. The private nursing home sector is taking the lead in meeting their care needs.
A Government-led roundtable conversation is required to inform the planning and resourcing necessary to treat this and proceeding generations with fitting, respectful and dignified dementia care. This must include persons with dementia and their carers, whether formal or informal. Input to the conversation should respect the dignity of persons with dementia and be accurately informed.
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