There is an established and growing evidence base for Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy and, to a lesser extent, Pscyho-education interventions to support people in the early stages of dementia. Through the Dementia Post-diagnostic Project, the National Dementia Office in Ireland commenced a grant scheme to support the delivery of these interventions across the country. The aim of the scheme was to make these interventions more available to people with dementia and to increase staff capacity to support their delivery.
The scheme ran in 2019 and funded 17 individual projects. The scheme was independently evaluated between January and June 2019 (Pierce et al, 2019) and findings show the process and impact of delivering these types of interventions within the Irish health care system.
During the evaluation time period a total of 232 people with dementia and 140 care partners took part in one of the programmes. Evaluation findings show a number of factors which affected the number of people participating including:
- confluence of staff experience, skills and readiness;
- choice of intervention and decisions around adapting an existing intervention or developing a new one;
- embeddedness of staff within their own organisation and the wider health system locally;
- management support.
The vast majority of people who took part in a post-diagnostic support programme had a very positive experience and reported that they found it of enormous value. Those providing the programmes also reported significant value added, not only for recipients but also to overall care objectives, staff morale and job satisfaction. Following the grant scheme and the positive findings from the evaluation, the majority of programmes have been integrated into existing services.