Dementia Elevator Innovation Award Shortlist

Below are the 12 shortlisted applicants for the Elevator Innovation in Dementia Award!

Alzheimer Café National Network Start-up

Sinead Grennan, Sonas APC & Catherine Keogh, Bloomfield Health Services, Dublin

The Alzheimer Café offers support, a social outlet, information, education and informal access to health and social care professionals. Run by volunteers, health and social care professionals, people with dementia and caregivers, it is unique in its equality of access for people with dementia and their caregivers.

There are an estimated 13 Alzheimer Cafes in Ireland.  The aim of this project is to standardize the delivery of the Alzheimer Café model in Ireland, supporting all current Alzheimer Cafe groups to meet international, evidence-based quality criteria.

Research, Recommendations and Design Guidance for Home Design for Ireland, looking at new build and retro fit homes from a universal design approach

Neil Murphy, Dr Ger Craddock, Prof Suzanne Cahill, Prof Mark Dyer, Tom Gray & Dr Maria Pierce, Centre of Excellence in Universal Design, Dublin

Up until now, research and design guidance on dementia has only addressed care homes. This project aims to provide design professionals and relevant stakeholders with the necessary universal design guidance, to design new homes or to retro fit existing housing stock in order to maintain for as long as possible, the possibility of people living with dementia to be able to live in their own homes and communities.

The project will target relevant public and private sector bodies as well as key dementia and family stakeholder organisations. The final outcome of the project is a literature review, recommendations report and a design guidance document looking at the design of homes for people with dementia and their carers from a Universal Design approach.

Hand in Hand

Bridie Stephens & Paul Selbin, Sacred Heart Hospital, Co Roscommon

This project aims to support carers of current residents with dementia in the Sacred Heart Hospital; to empower them to make the most of their visits and to enhance the lives of residents with dementia. Due to the cognitive impairment of the resident, the family members can have difficulty in connecting. They can come away frustrated, disappointed or upset with a feeling of loss.  The initiative sets out to help the resident reconnect, to build on their interpersonal relationship and help maintain the current cognitive function of the resident. A training programme is provided to carers which covers: understanding dementia, communication and responding to behaviour. Additionally carers are supported by the establishment of a support group for family members, led and directed by themselves.

Engaging Dementia – An app to rate and locate dementia friendly places, activities and services

Mathew Mc Cann, K.C Grant & Dr Andy Cochrane, Maynooth University, Co Kildare

The project team are developing an app that will provide freely available, accessible information about dementia friendly environments, services and businesses, identified and rated by end-users themselves. It is hoped that this will encourage people with dementia, with the support of their carers, family and friends, to remain connected to, and active in their community, and promote their inclusion in everyday activities.  This initiative also aims to support other projects, including those working to create dementia friendly communities by mapping dementia services and ‘friendly’ places.

Tea for two

Rachel Simmons, St Clare’s Nursing Home, & Paddy O’ Reilly, Trinity Comp secondary school, Dublin 11

“Tea for Two” is an initiative whereby a transition year student will assist a person with dementia who lives alone in the community to prepare a meal in their own home and sit with them to share the meal. The initiative targets people with dementia over sixty years who live alone in the Dublin North City area. It addresses the issue of loneliness and nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet and lack of interest or competency in preparing food. In collaboration with the local comprehensive secondary school (Trinity) and the staff in St Clare’s Day care centre, the project team will identify those people most at risk. Working with the transition year teacher, students who have expressed an interest in cooking and/or working in the caring field will be identified.

All volunteer students will receive training in HACCP (food safety) and dementia care.

Kildare Liaison and Social Service (KLASS)

Sharon Murphy & Anne Harris, KLASS, Co Kildare

This intiative will provide a recreation and support facility, by setting up a choir for people with dementia and their carers  in the Kildare area.

The weekly choir will give carers a reason to meet up and receive support from their peers, but also from a team of interested, volunteering professionals.  It is planned that the choir will provide a space of mutual enjoyment, creativity and fun for both the carer and their loved one, while rotating peripheral activities offered by volunteering professionals will allow the carers to slip in and out of the choir to avail of such supports, knowing that their loved one is in a comfortable and stimulating environment.

The Eden Alternative (a person centred philosophy of care)

Rosanna Staveley & Margeurite Kilduff, Raheny Community Nursing Unit, Dublin 5

The Eden Alternative aims to change potentially overly medicalized models of care, excessive use of psychotropic medications and physical environments which are similar to a hospital.  This philosophy challenges any personal, institutional and cultural perspectives which might negatively affect a person with dementia, by threatening their sense of control, social inclusion or personal worth.

This project aims to to create an elder-centred community by creating an environment where life revolves around close and continuing contact with friends, children, plants and animals. It also sets out to empower all staff groups and residents/visitors to create opportunities to prevent loneliness, boredom and helplessness in the residents living in this nursing home.

The Memory Strategy Group

Scott Casey & Dr Tara Owens, HSE, Navan, Co Meath

The Memory Strategy Group is a cognitive and practical skills-based group geared towards people with early stage dementia, mild cognitive impairment or those without a diagnosed memory difficulty who experience significant anxiety in relation to their memory. The group also contains a session for their family members or carers.

There is a lack of non-pharmaceutical intervention for those who are still in the early stages of dementia. This project aims to use a strengths-based approach to focus on maintaining a meaningful life for those in the early stages of dementia. This involves promoting the persons’ independence, well-being and self-efficacy whilst minimising risk through teaching internal and external memory strategies, and using assistive devices and home modifications.

DREAM (Dementia Research Education Advocacy in Motion)

Heather Gately, Galway

Dare to D.R.E.A.M. targets people living in Ireland with the early stages of a dementia.  This project offers peer to peer support aimed at improving self-esteem through psycho-social interventions. This allows for a person at the beginning of the dementia journey to remain engaged in their local community while participating in an initiative that makes them feel more hopeful about their future and enables them to function at his/her highest level of ability for as long as they are able.

This initiative aims to set-up and facilitate a network of peer to peer support chapters run by people living with the early stages of dementia.  The team also intend to use web and social media to reduce stigma and raise awareness about living well with dementia across Ireland, by enhancing their website and launching a members only intranet resource.

The Memory Technology Library

Simone McGoldrick & Cait Mackey, HSE, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

The Memory Technology Library (MTL) was developed to address the lack of awareness about assistive technologies (AT) that can help people with dementia and their carers with everyday living. The MTL aims to support people with dementia, carer’s and healthcare professionals make informed decisions around the use of AT to support them at home. The MTL is a resource centre that offers an occupational therapy (OT) assessment, support and advice to promote independence and safety around activities of daily living and occupations.  Visitors can see a simulated bedroom with environmental tips, an activities room to inspire ideas on how to maintain occupational well-being, a property exit technologies area, a reference room with a range of books for carers and health professionals and a large demo room with a variety of AT products.

Providing Non-instructed support and advocacy for people with dementia in Nursing Homes

Eileen O Callaghan & Maria Patterson, SAGE Support and Advocacy for Older People, Dublin

SAGE will introduce the model of non-instructed advocacy for people with dementia.

This project will address the issue of supporting people with dementia to ensure that their will and preference are expressed and acknowledged in any decisions made about their care, support and life in the nursing home.  The non-instructed advocate will seek to uphold the person’s rights; ensure fair and equal treatment and access to services; and make certain that decisions are taken with due consideration for their unique preferences and perspectives. 10 volunteers will be trained to provide non-instructed advocacy.  They will regularly visit the people in the dementia unit of the participating nursing home over the course of 6 months to ascertain their needs, will and preference and ensure that these are reflected in their care.

National Electronic Referral Service for Public, Diagnostic Memory Clinics in Ireland

Dr Christopher Soraghan, Mercer’s Institute for Research and Ageing, St James Hospital, Dublin

Patients with memory complaints are generally referred from GPs to one of the 18 memory clinics in Ireland. Of these, 10 are publically funded to diagnose conditions, typically some form of dementia. At the Mercer’s Institute for Research on Ageing (MIRA) we are looking to develop a national electronic referral form for GPs etc referring patients to any of the 10 public, diagnostic memory clinics in Ireland. It would address inefficiencies of paper based referrals providing a fast, digital method of memory clinic referrals. This project sets out to develop a digital software based online electronic referral portal for referrers to refer patient with memory complaints to public, diagnostic memory clinics in Ireland.