Estonia's Dementia Competence Centre

In 2018, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonia, along with its’ partners founded the Dementia Competence Centre (DCC). The DCC is a government-supported partnership between a nongovernmental organization, two healthcare and social care providers, and a tertiary education institution.

The four action areas of the DCC are: 

a) raising awareness towards a dementia-friendly society; 

b) facilitating integrated care service provision; 

c) building support systems for people with dementia and their families, and 

d) coordinating academic research activities on dementia-related topics and disseminate evidence-based knowledge on best practices to stakeholders.

The overall aim of the DCC is to improve the quality of care services, and quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers. The DCC provides counselling, services and support groups for those with care needs and caregivers, as well as tools and educational training for professionals and service providers who are working with people with dementia and their caregivers. The DCC is financed by the state until the end of 2021. Discussions regarding financial sustainability after 2021 are presently underway.

Within the context of COVID-19, many previous initiatives implemented to address the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers (including those coordinated by the DCC) were successfully adapted to address the new challenges rapidly brought on by the pandemic. Among them were (but were not limited to) the dementia helpline, specific guidelines and recommendations, and support groups for family caregivers.

The Ministry of Social Affairs along with its partners is presently in the process of describing a set of general principles on policy-making regarding people with dementia and their caregivers. The principles are largely based upon the 7 Action Areas described in the WHO GDO framework. The principles contain ongoing and planned measures to support people with dementia and their caregivers, and progress towards becoming a dementia-friendly society. The principles will be published in July 2020.  The policy principles’ objectives are to be integrated into an existing policy framework – the new Welfare Development Plan.