Wicklow woman speaks of her families experience as renewed calls made for Commission on Care to be formed

Guests of SAint Joseph's Shankill, including Senator Fiona O'Loughlin, Deputy Corma Dvelin, Kevin Quaid

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. 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;

Pictured above: Deirdre Lang

Pictured Top: Guests of Saint Joseph’s Shankill, including Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, Deputy Corma Dvelin, Kevin Quaid

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.

There is no more qualified person to discuss matters of Clinical, emotional, psychological and physical care of those with Dementia than Deirdre Lang. Not only is Deirdre a Director of Nursing and senior lead on older persons services for HSE, Deirdre’s father is also a recipient of outstanding care by the team at St.Joseph’s in Shankill.

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. In September 2020, their high level of care came into the spotlight as they were awarded an International Daisy Award. Daisy Awards are given in recognition of above and beyond compassionate care delivered by nurses and staff. You can read more about it in our 2020 article here.

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.

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.

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.

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