The Irish government has launched a new programme to upskill healthcare workers in dementia care.

The programme, said to be the first of its kind in Ireland, is designed for healthcare staff working across acute, residential, nursing and home care settings to enhance their skills and deepen their understanding of the condition.

Launching the programme, Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said: “The rapid aging of the population is a challenge faced by many countries, and Ireland is no exception. As the population ages, the number of people affected by dementia will increase significantly.”

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There are 64,000 people with dementia in Ireland and the number of people with the condition will more than double in the next 25 years to over 150,000 by 2045, according to Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

“This upskilling programme is accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, which is the agency responsible for the quality, integrity and reputation of Ireland’s further and higher education system,” said Harris.

“It will be led by those with experience of dementia care. I believe this could be an invaluable tool in assisting healthcare workers across the healthcare family.”

The programme, developed by Skillnet Ireland, was specifically developed to address a skills gap in a growing area of care, so that people living with dementia across all settings will benefit from enhanced care.

Tracey Donnery, executive director, Skillnet Ireland said: “Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet has an excellent track record in engaging with businesses within the healthcare sector to identify their business needs and developing new accredited programmes to meet their talent and skills challenges.

“This new Certificate in Dementia Care offers a further learning pathway in dementia care for healthcare assistants and is an excellent solution to help this sector better support people living with dementia and their families.”

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