Over the next 25 years the number of people living with dementia in Ireland will treble to 140,000.
Currently an estimated 1,274 in Co. Wicklow are affected by the condition.* Based on the national projections, this figure will rise to 3,822 by 2041.
A leading dementia care professional claims Ireland is not properly equipped to care for the rising number of people with dementia.
Jackie O’Toole, who heads up the national dementia training programme at Person Centered Healthcare Training (PCHT), says the shortage of specialist nurses is compromising the standard of care provided.
Ms O’Toole, who specialised in dementia care for most of her 20 year nursing career, says many nurses in Older Care do not feel equipped to meet the psychological needs of residents.
“85% of residents in Nursing Homes have cognitive impairment with resulting complex psychological rather than physical needs. We run dementia-specific training courses in nursing homes across the country. For many nurses this is the first time ever they have received instruction in the area.”
Ms O’Toole says there should be an introduction of a combined General and Gerontological qualification on the University Nursing degree programme.
“With the number of people aged 65 and over set to reach 1.4 million in Ireland by 2041, it should be a priority to include a specialist nursing qualification.” **
“Further specialisation is desirable but this would ensure that each newly qualified nurse would have a basic certification in the area.”
Jackie O’Toole will be addressing a major national conference on the nurse retention crisis in Dublin’s Clayton Hotel on the 16th September 2015.
Jackie O’Toole RPN, MSc. (dementia) is the Creative Director at Personal Health Care Training (PCHT). After nursing for twenty years Jackie now develops courses and trains healthcare staff in all aspects of dementia care. Jackie specialised for most of her nursing career in older person care and completed a Masters in Dementia Care before becoming a Clinical Dementia Nurse Specialist (therapeutic interventions) in the HSE.