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Iceland launches dementia strategy

Thursday 09 April 2020

Iceland’s Ministry of Health has published a national strategy on dementia, setting out a plan for services for people with dementia until 2025. The action plan is the result of the policy work that Minister for Health, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, had instructed Jón Snædal, a geriatrician, to carry out. The work included consultation with service providers, patient groups and relatives of people with dementia. International action plans, such as the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Dementia 2017-2025 were also considered. Additional considerations included the European Joint Action on dementia and Nordic co-operation on dementia under the auspices of the Norden Välfärdscenter (NVC).

The development of the strategy follows the Icelandic Parliament's Resolution of 2017, which mandated the Minister of Health to: "Formulate a policy on the issues of individuals with dementia that involves raising awareness and education for the public and family members, increased emphasis on the gathering of statistical information and targeted information, an effort to improve the quality of care for the rapidly expanding patient population in the community”.

The plan covers six areas and defines 48 actions, each with specific measurable goals. Some measures have already been implemented, as work began immediately following the report of Jón Snædal, on which the strategy was based.

The six areas covered in the Action Plan are:

  • Self-determination, patient involvement and legal framework
  • Prevention
  • Timely diagnosis of dementia at the right place and follow-up after diagnosis
  • Functionality, self-help and support
  • Proper service based on the level of dementia
  • Scope, research, knowledge and skills.

Under each area of ​​focus are the Minister's emphases, the actions that have been determined, and their intended vision and impact on society. The full strategy can be accessed here: