New report highlights the barriers to care for people with dementia in Northern Ireland
By Philip Mynes Policy and Public Affairs, Northern Ireland
Living and dying with dementia in Northern Ireland, a new report published by Marie Curie and Alzheimer’s Society, identifies the barriers that prevent many people living with dementia in Northern Ireland from accessing the care they need. The report draws on research from across the UK and explores how we can improve care and support for people with dementia, as well as for families, carers and the relevant health and social care professionals supporting them. The paper highlights three key barriers.
- Identification and planning: People with dementia are not being appropriately identified for end of life care
- Inequality of access: People with dementia have less access to care than people with other terminal illnesses
- Quality of care: People with dementia receive poorer quality care than people with other terminal illnesses
The joint report documents the commitment of Marie Curie and Alzheimer’s Society to work together to address these barriers by collaborating with a range of partner organisations in Northern Ireland, including those from the statutory and voluntary sectors. The report also highlights the need for a stronger focus on dementia as a terminal illness. To date, the focus of much research and policy discussions has been on finding a cure for the different forms of dementia. However the fact is that the condition is terminal and its symptoms get worse over time. This, perhaps, can be hard to accept. But how we think about dementia matters as it will have a direct impact on the care people living with dementia receive. What the report makes clear is that we need to take action to improve end of life care for people with dementia in Northern Ireland today and into the future. Of course, we must recognise and commend the positive work carried out in recent years by the various agencies and service providers in Northern Ireland to improve both services and awareness of dementia. This work has helped people with dementia to live the lives they want, and for longer, and provides a strong foundation to build from. Our ambition now must be to achieve seamless, high-quality end of life care for those with dementia, based on their individual needs. To make this a reality we need to start redressing the imbalance outlined in the report now, and all of us in Northern Ireland have a part to play. Read the executive summary of our dementia report Read the full dementia report