Aims -Independent Evaluation
Independent Evaluation of National Dementia Strategy and the National Dementia Strategy Implementation Plan
The Irish National Dementia Strategy was launched in December 2014, which aimed to have a lasting and life-changing impact for people with dementia and their families. Significant investment from Atlantic Philanthropies, Dept of Health and the Health Service Executive supported the implementation of the strategy. In September 2018, University College Cork and a market research company, IPSOS Mori, were commissioned to evaluate the National Dementia Strategy (NDS) and the National Dementia Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP).
A theory driven evaluation approach incorporating a realistic framework was conducted to evaluate the NDS and NDSIP.
To achieve the tender objectives and inform the evaluation theory, there were a number of phases to the evaluation process, which entailed a modified multi vocal literature review, key informant interviews, survey questionnaire, multiple embedded case studies and synthesis of context -mechanism-outcome data. This multi-level mixed method evaluation was conducted over 1 year which necessitated over 50 hours of qualitative data and completion of over 600 surveys by key stakeholders (people living with dementia, carers, health and social care professionals, representatives of not for profit organisations).
The multiple embedded case studies facilitated spotlighting care provisions nationally and this provided insight with regard to the implementation of the NDS in different regions. The project team have developed a theory to support the evaluation and this is the first of its kind for strategy evaluation in Ireland.
The significant investment in the NDSIP gave the development of dementia care increased priority and impetus. There has been momentous progress since the launch of the NDS. The awareness raising campaign ‘UnderstandTogether’ has been successfully implemented.
Timely diagnosis and early management of dementia to support people living with dementia (PLwD ) and their families was regarded as crucial by all participants across the 3 cycles, yet evidence suggests that early diagnosis and onward referral to supports and services is inconsistent across Ireland.
The lack of a national dementia specific pathway for the diagnosis and early management of dementia to support PLwD and their families was evident. Plus the lack of purposively designed or adapted dementia friendly healthcare environments caused difficulties for PLwD and their carers. The full impact of the NDS will not be known for some time. This evaluation provides recommendations which will enable future development of person-centred dementia care in Ireland.
The Team: Dr Irene Hartigan & Dr Nicola Cornally (Lead Researchers), O’Philbin, L., O’Caoimh, R., O’Connor, K., Drennan, J., Coffey, A., Buckley, C., Naughton, C. O’Regan, N., Rooney, F., Clarke, K.
External advisers: Professor Kevin Brazil, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queens University and Professor Jenny van der Steen University Medical Center, Leiden, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.