Getting Dementia Right

Getting Dementia Right

Saint Joseph’s present in Leinster House

Tuesday, 28th March 2023: Saint Joseph’s Shankill call for the government to prioritise the setting up of the long promised Commission on Care.

It coincides with a visit to the Oireachtas by clinical staff, persons living with dementia and family members of the people living at Saint Joseph’s Shankill, all of whom are urging the government to revisit Ireland’s approach to the care of people living with dementia.

They are calling  for a more patient-centred policy approach to improve the quality of life, social inclusion and dignity of people living with dementia, their caregivers and family members.

Saint Joseph’s Shankill which is the Irish partner in the pan-European ‘Dementia Right’ initiative, and had been invited to Leinster House by Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, Chair of the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia to present their case to both political and sectoral colleagues.

The Dementia Right Project commenced in 2020 and is a European project with partners in Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. Th

Siobhan Grant, from Saint Joseph’s Shankill explained why they are making this call “The long-awaited Commission on Care promised under the Programme for Government, can  play an important role in commencing a national discussion on dementia and this should be expedited.    

Erasmus + co-funded Dementia Right Project

The project has four key objectives:

Improving the quality of life, social inclusion and dignity of people living with dementia, their caregivers and family members;

Developing a new approach to dementia that is human rights-based, with effective guidelines for implementing and supervising the care provided in health/care facilities to people with dementia regarding their rights;

Improving the professional competencies of health and social care professionals, social educators and other carers to revamp their care skills and their approach to dementia;

Making care centres more inclusive and efficient to cope with the diverse needs of people living with dementia.

The team at Saint Joseph’s are positively committed to changing the way people living with dementia are treated and cared for and say national policy must now be reviewed and modernised to support more progressive models of care.

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin informed the crowd at the event that terms of reference were being developed for a Commission on Care and she assured the audience that there is a commitment to delivering the new model of care pathway that the National Dementia Office will be launching very soon. 

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“Saint Joseph’s Shankill itself introduced significant changes with the initiation of our Butterfly Approach model of care, that uses a person-centred model of care focusing on the social, emotional, psychological, and physical needs of each individual, in as real a home environment as possible. It seeks to put human rights at its core. Throughout the implementation of this innovative approach over the past years, the home has witnessed significant clinical improvements across a range of care metrics amongst its sixty-one residents. This more individualised approach to care encourages questioning and innovation, empowering people to make changes, and accepting what those changes bring for the better”

“It is challenging to maintain that excellence, but we have a wonderful team of staff and volunteers who believe in making every person feel valued, needed and most importantly loved.   The project team at Saint Josephs have drawn on their own experience of culture and systems changes to inform the Dementia Right Project, by sharing how they value each person using the service, and their own uniqueness.” concluded Siobhan.

The Dementia Right Project seeks to influence people at all levels; from social and healthcare professionals to family members of people living with dementia, to politicians, law professional and the media at large. Inspiring policymakers to support a better future for people living with dementia, where their rights and preferences are always respected and taken into consideration.