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Is care for people with dementia from a migration background addressed in national dementia plans and strategies in Europe?

Tuesday 26 May 2020

On 26 May, a study examining whether or not national dementia plans and strategies in Europe have a focus on care for people with dementia from a migration background, was published in the journal BMC Public Health. The study was carried out by a team of researchers at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), led by Tim Schmachtenberg. Their aim was to illustrate how European countries identify the dementia-related needs of people with migration backgrounds and to find out if specific healthcare services are provided for them, at the national level.

A qualitative analysis of national dementia plans of the EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries was carried out, and results showed that, of the 23 (out of 35) EU and ETFA countries which have national dementia plans in place, 10 of these made reference to migration.

Only one country (Austria) had a national dementia plan with a specific chapter on migration, while eight countries identified that people with migration backgrounds and dementia have specific needs. Dedicated actions to care for this population group were laid out in nine of the ten countries’ plans, but only the national dementia plans of Norway, Northern Ireland, and Netherlands referred to currently available healthcare services for people with migration backgrounds.

Overall, the study concludes that the topic of migration plays a “subordinate role” in the national dementia plans of European countries and that this lack of migrant-specific healthcare services in almost all European countries may lead to denying the right to appropriate care to what is a growing population. The data analysed in this study are publically available via the website of Alzheimer Europe: https://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Policy/National-Dementia-Strategies

The study was carried out within the project “Atlas zu Prävalenz von dementiell erkrankten Menschen mit Zuwanderungsgeschiche in Europa” funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Study link: https://bit.ly/2YbThIJ

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