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Government launches dementia-care pilot project

Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A pilot project has been launched to help uninsured or underinsured people suffering from dementia, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors announced today.

Tinee Furbert said it was estimated that as many as 3,000 people on the island suffered from the disease, with the number likely to rise.

In the House today, she told MPs that the ministry has initiated a six-month dementia care services pilot programme “to ensure persons living with dementia who are uninsured or underinsured have access to dementia care community support services”.

Ms Furbert said that in August the ministry had invited organisations specialising in community dementia care to submit proposals detailing a plan of services for the pilot.

“I am pleased to share that NorthStar Dementia, which already has an established evidence-based dementia care programme and has connections to the care ecosystem, commenced offering dementia care services in October,” she added.

“NorthStar Dementia Care will offer clients a range of assessment, care planning, caregiver education support and case management services.

“These services include preliminary consultation, comprehensive dementia assessment and intervention, including crisis support during working hours, ongoing monitoring, and general case management services, pending the assessed need.”

The maximum budget for the pilot is $48,000.

The minister said that when the programme ended NorthStar Dementia Care would provide a detailed report with data and information to feed into a National Seniors Strategy being drafted by the Government.

Ms Furbert said: “Seniors 65 years and older are projected to increase to 24.9 per cent, or roughly one-quarter of Bermuda’s population, by the year 2026.

“Therefore, it is expected that the number of persons living with dementia in Bermuda will rise and the lack of community-based dementia care support services will heighten care crisis scenarios including caregiver burnout, hospitalisation and emergency room visits, premature long-term care placement and senior abuse and neglect cases.

“In the recently released report by the Ministry of Health, Bermuda Joint Strategic Needs Assessment of Health, in 2021, dementia ranked first among ten adult mental health conditions diagnosed in Bermuda, with a total of about $1.3 million paid for claimed services.

“This ranking of cost is reflective of the high demand for dementia care services in Bermuda.

“Based on data collected by the Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia Charity, about 3,000 Bermudians currently live with dementia and 80 per cent of dementia care is undertaken by family members, who report high levels of caregiver stress and burnout.”

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Published November 24, 2023 at 4:56 pm (Updated November 24, 2023 at 9:11 pm)

Government launches dementia-care pilot project

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