Northern Ireland Audit of Dementia

NIAD Project Overview

NIAD Project Overview

NIAD Background

There are approximately 19000 individuals living with dementia in NI currently, and with this figure set to increase to 60000 by the year 2051, it is urgent that improvements be made to services providing dementia care.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland (DHSSPS) have published a strategy on dementia services in order to make such improvements, ‘Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland - A Regional Strategy’, (Consultation on Improving  Dementia Services in Northern Ireland, 2010), with a section focused on the importance of improving acute hospital care.

This is a particularly important area for development given the evidence to suggest that hospital admission is distressing and disorientating for a person with dementia, and is associated with a decline in their cognitive ability and functioning.

The first Northern Ireland Audit of Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals (NIAD) was carried out in order to obtain a baseline picture of the quality of care from admission through discharge. The following questions will drive the audit:

  • What structures and resources do hospitals have in place to enable them to identify and meet the care needs of patients with dementia?
  • What evidence can be assembled to demonstrate that hospitalised patients with dementia receive an acceptable level of care?

Recommendations from this NIAD aimed to enable the implementation of the strategy on dementia services in acute hospitals.


All 12 acute hospitals in Northern Ireland were audited as follows, based on the recent audits carried out in England & Wales (2010; 2012), as well as in the Republic of Ireland (INAD, 2014).

1)        hospital organisational audit: policies at hospital and trust level (2-3 senior managers/clinicians);

2)        ward organisation audit: resources on the ground (2-3 wards per hospital);

3)        ward environment audit: built environment/layout (2-3 wards per hospital);

4)        patient case-note audit: actual practice (20 per hospital).


The second round of audit in England & Wales brought about significant improvements in the quality of care being delivered to people with dementia in acute hospitals.

It is our vision that this baseline audit in Northern Ireland will similarly drive improvements in care, in line with the dementia strategy.

The results of this audit were published in 2015.

Partner Organisations & Audit Management

The Northern Ireland Audit of Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals (NIAD) was led by The Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, University College Cork (Dr. Suzanne Timmons, Consultant Geriatrician, Senior Lecturer), and co-lead by Ms Eleanor Ross, Nurse Consultant & Mr. Seamus McErlean, Commissioning Lead for Older People and Adult Services, HSBC, both leads of the Dementia Strategy Implementation Group.

Funding for this national audit of dementia care was very generously given by Atlantic Philanthropies.


NIAD Steering Group


Bríd Kerrigan, Consultant Psychiatrist of Old Age, South Eastern HSC Trust

Assumpta Ryan, Lecturer Nursing Division, University of Ulster

Cathy Patterson, Consultant Geriatrician, Belfast HSC Trust

Bernadine McCrory, Director, Alzheimer’s Society

April Heaney, Consultant Geriatrician, South Eastern HSC Trust

David Craig, Consultant Geriatrician, Southern HSC Trust

Paul Gallagher, Consultant Geriatrician, HSE

Pauline Casey, Head of Service and Lead nurse for Older Peoples Mental Health

Majella Magee, Service Improvement Lead Older Peoples Mental Health, Western Trust


NIAD Advisory Committee


Des O Neill, Professor in Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin

Pat Cullen, Director of Nursing, Public Health Agency

Stephen Todd, Consultant Geriatrician, Western Trust

Alison McCullough, Policy Officer, Royal College of Speech & Language Therapy

Kate Lesslar, Policy Officer, College of Occupational Therapy

Philip Bartley, Clinical Service Lead, Northern HSC Trust

Karen Harvey, Acting Head of Mental Health Services for Older People

Rachel Gibbs, Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy, South Eastern HSC Trust

Djamil Vahidassr, Consultant Geriatrician, Northern HSC Trust

Conor Barton, Consultant Psychiatrist of Old Age, Belfast HSC Trust

Louise Sands, General Practitioner, Lisburn Health Centre

Bernadette McGuiness, Consultant Geriatrician, Belfast HSC Trust

Sean Kennelly, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin

Sean Doherty, Consultant Psychiatrist of Old Age, Northern HSC Trust

Gillian McCorkell, Nurse Research Lead, Western HSC Trust

Aine Abbott, General Practitioner, Western HSC Trust


NIAD Audit Team

Emma O’ Shea, Research Support Officer, Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, UCC

+353 87 755 1275

+353 85 788 9499



 Edmund Manning, Clinical Research Nurse, Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, UCC




Report of the Northern Ireland Audit of Dementia

Link to the final report of the Northern Ireland Audit of Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals:  Report NIAD

Irish National Audit of Dementia

The National Dementia Office in Partnership with the Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, UCC, St. Finbarr's Hospital, Douglas Road, Cork.