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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 7 Long-term residential care


Residential care does not reside in the building or its facilities but rather in the spirit of the people within.

(Alan Gilsenan, 2010)


In this chapter attention turns to the person, who at some stage in the course of the illness may have to leave home and enter long-term residential care. What type of long-term care facilities are available in Ireland to support that person’s complex needs? Do people have a choice regarding their preferred care option and who pays for their long-term care? What proportion of people in long-term residential care in Ireland have dementia and what factors determine their admission? Why might the built and psychosocial environment in long-term residential care be important for a person with dementia? How does Ireland compare with other European countries whose history of population ageing and of designing dementia services is more advanced? These along with other questions will be answered in this chapter. But first attention is turned to a brief overview of the main features of Irish long-term care policy and to some of the most significant changes that have occurred in that policy landscape over the last fifteen years.

Irish long-term care policy

The key service providers

In Ireland, long-term residential care for older people is provided through the public, voluntary and private sectors. The private sector, by far the largest provider, accounts for about three quarters of all beds and here long-term care is delivered...

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