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Perspectives on the Person with Dementia and Family Caregiving in Ireland

Suzanne Cahill

This book is all about dementia in Ireland and what has and has not been happening in a country where dementia has been a taboo topic for so long. In particular it examines the dementia landscape since late 2014, following the launch of Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy. A lot has happened in Ireland since that time but a lot more needs to happen for people to live well with dementia and have their human rights upheld. There are an estimated 55,000 Irish people living with dementia and these figures are set to triple by 2050. Although topics explored in the book,such as obtaining a diagnosis, accessing home care services and moving from home into a nursing home relate to Ireland, they are discussed against the backdrop of policy, practice and research developments in dementia in other parts of the world. In this way the book provides the reader with a wealth of information including research evidence, best practice guidelines and international expertise. The book has been dedicated to Mnánah Éireann, in recognition of the hard physical and emotional work, caregivers,mostly women do behind closed doors. Throughout the book, an appeal is made for more state support to be given to these formal and informal caregivers.

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CHAPTER 3 Diagnostic and post-diagnostic services

Extract

Introduction

This chapter explores the topic of the diagnosis and disclosure of dementia and why obtaining a diagnosis is critically important. It also addresses the question of who within the medical profession in Ireland has responsibility for the diagnosis and disclosure of dementia and what constitutes best practice in this area. Living well with dementia requires psychological and emotional adjustment, often facilitated by high quality services, so what type of post-diagnostic supports are available to people in Ireland recently diagnosed? What is the evidence base for these services and how does Ireland compare with other European countries in relation to the provision of post-diagnostic supports? Is there an ideal model of post-diagnostic service support that might best target the complex needs of people diagnosed? These along with other important questions will be addressed in this chapter – but first to a cautionary note about the use of language in discussions about dementia diagnosis.

Early versus timely diagnosis.

Nowadays policy makers and medical doctors talk about the importance of a timely diagnosis rather than an early diagnosis of dementia. While the terms timely and early are often used interchangeably, for the purpose of this chapter, I use these terms to refer to a diagnosis that ideally occurs at the right time and sufficiently early to enable the individual and family members participate in legal, financial and future care planning. This is how I interpret these terms, but it is important to note that others have ←31...

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