26th September 2023
The Living Well with Dementia project in South Tipperary, supported by the HSE and run in cooperation with Family Carers Ireland, recently marked 10 years of service.
Established in 2012, the project provides a broad range of supports and services that are designed to help people live as well and as independently as they can at home.
An Evaluation Report focused on the service’s implementation and sustainability into the future, was recently launched at the Memory Technology Library at Tipperary University Hospital, Clonmel.
Funded by the HSE and Family Carer’s Ireland, and carried out by Dr Maria Pierce, Asst Professor in Social Policy, UCD, and Jeremy Golden, University College Dublin, the report looks at a wide range of practical, personalised, post-diagnostic, psychosocial supports and interventions provided by the project. It also looked at contributions to national policy and programme development.
Launching the report, Bridget Farrell, General Manager, Older Person’s Services, HSE South East Community Healthcare, said she was “delighted to see that the study has found that the Dementia Nurse and Occupational Therapist Specialist, the Dementia Support Workers, the Memory Technology Library, the Post Diagnostic and Education Programmes and Weekly Social Group, are all having the positive effect that we have been seeing ourselves. When established, the Memory Technology Library in Clonmel was an innovation and it is now a model that has been replicated elsewhere.”
“A large number of strengths were identified in the study by people with dementia, their family carers, staff, health professionals and other stakeholders who all participated in interviews and focus groups. The project is seen to be promoting the personhood of people with dementia. The report also identified as major strengths, the highly qualified and experienced specialist nurse and occupational therapists, and the roles they play in assessment and care planning, post-diagnosis. They offer specialist information, advice, support and strategies to help people with dementia live independently and engage in daily and meaningful activities as well as supporting family carers.”
The ongoing support offered to family carers who find themselves in very challenging circumstances was also highlighted at the event. The educational role staff play in changing the narrative around dementia and reducing stigma was further praised.
The event featured contributions from Dr Pierce, along with Kate Brennan, Senior Project Manager, HSE National Dementia Office, Prof Eamon O’ Shea, Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, University of Galway and Anne Quinn, Memory Technology Library. There was also a video message from a person living with a dementia diagnosis, along with an address from a family member of a person living with dementia.
There were further contributions from Dr Caitriona Crowe, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, and the Mayor of Clonmel Borough District Clr Richie Molloy.