Professor Eamon O'Shea
National University of Ireland, Galway
National Centre for Social Research on Dementia (NCSRD)
Health Research Board / The Atlantic Philanthropies
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
This proposal is concerned with strengthening social research on dementia in Ireland. What is envisaged is a national research centre that ultimately will bring together all social researchers on dementia in Ireland to examine social, economic, civic, cultural and legal aspects of dementia. Creating scale and complexity in the social research of dementia is the goal, supporting an over-arching vision of the person with dementia being at the core of decision-making at all times. The new centre will provide the research framework for the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy in Ireland. It will offer support in terms of audit, evaluation and analysis of the Strategy, with a major emphasis on ensuring that the stated goals and principles are realised. The proposed centre will focus mainly on exploring nonpharmacological approaches to the care of people with dementia. Resource allocation for people with dementia requires careful scrutiny of costs and outcomes. A balance of care approach will be used to investigate optimal pathways to care and placement for people on the margins of home care and residential care. The research programme will also focus on the economic, social and emotional costs of caring for people with dementia. Understanding personhood within dementia is a key element of the research programme, particularly how relationships are formed, maintained, nurtured and developed during the caring process. Of particular interest is how person-centred, non-pharmacological approaches to care are valued in dementia and a contingent valuation approach is used to elicit preferences and values from citizens with respect to alternative types of care. The research programme also includes a pilot randomised controlled trial on physical exercise in dementia care. In summary, this application is a partnership among researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, policy-makers and people with dementia with a view to enhancing and enriching the lives of the latter.