Irish Medical Organisation

DoH Consultation on a National Strategy for Dementia - Aug 2012

The IMO has for many years advocated for access to adequate health services for our elderly population through position papers and submissions.  In the Submission to the Department of Health the IMO urged the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Strategy for Dementia which should include all the elements as highlighted in Creating Excellence in Dementia Care: A Research Review for Ireland’s National Strategy (Cahill et al, 2012).

The IMO also recommended that:

  • an investment approach to prevention and early diagnosis of Dementia is required;
  • demand for community-based care must be properly assessed and adequate resources provided;
  • carers must be provided with adequate financial support, support services, and respite to enable them to care for someone as long as they wish and are able to do so, without jeopardising their own health and wellbeing;
  • this year the Independent Monitoring Group of A Vision for Change reported a worrying lack of development of Old Age Psychiatry Services and that these should be prioritised as a matter of urgency;
  • priority must be given to Legal Capacity legislation to replace Ireland’s archaic mental capacity legislation and the ward of court system.

The IMO raised it concerns about reliance on the private sector to provide long-term care with the further closure of between 555 to 898 public beds in 2012 as well as the funding of long-term care under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

As Neurodegenerative disease (stroke, dementia etc.) is the most common reason for admission to nursing home care, therefore nursing home care should be an integral part of the health services.

The IMO believe a fairer and more equitable system of funding long-term care than the Nursing Home Support Scheme is required and oppose any plans to expand the scheme to fund community-based care. The principle of solidarity must be applied to the funding of long-term care where the cost is spread over a wider population and access to the service is based on medical need, with minimal bureaucracy.

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