My Brain Health - Pilot Study

22 September 2023

We were delighted to launch the ‘My Brain Health Plan’ pilot in our Resident Services this week. This initiative is a collaboration with the National Intellectual Disability Memory Service (NIDMS) and the Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability (TCAID).  

 The launch took place on 21st September 2023, coinciding with World Alzheimer’s Day. Our newly refurbished Coach House was the perfect venue for everyone to meet for a coffee morning and discuss the work of the ‘My Brain Head Plan’.

 NIDMS is committed to improving the early detection of dementia in people with an intellectual disability and offering post diagnostic supports. The ‘My Brain Health Plan’ was designed by them to promote continued brain health for people who have an intellectual disability and a diagnosis of dementia.  

 Stewarts Care is proudly collaborating on this pilot with NIDMS and TCAID which will run over a six-month period. This is the first time this tool will be extended to all adults with an intellectual disability who do not have a diagnosis of cognitive decline.

 ‘My Brain Health Plan’ was developed in easy read format. It provides supporting information to help people understand more about brain health. The plan invites the person to select three goals of their choosing in relation to social connectivity, physical health, and cognitive engagement. 

Four ladies supported by Stewarts Care Resident Services, were selected to be a part of the pilot study. Over the last number of months, Joan, Martina, Emma and Carmel have been working with their support teams to identify activities and goals that will help them to improve their brain health.

 Joined by their families for the launch, Joan, Martina, Emma and Carmel presented their brain health plans, and showcased the goals they have chosen. This pilot was led by Clinical Nurse Specialist in Health Promotion Louise O’Reilly and Clinical Nurse Specialist in Dementia Geraldine Kirrane. They worked closely with residential staff Imelda, Gail, Granny, Sinead, Ann and other team members.

 This pilot project will be reviewed at three- and six-monthly intervals, after which the intention is to make recommendations for its implementation across the wider population in Stewarts Care, including Resident and Day Services. The learnings from this pilot will also inform disability services nationwide as we work together to advance brain health promotion.

 The launch was attended by Dr Eimear McGlinchey, Research Lead in NIDMS and TCAID. Dr McGlinchey was representing Prof. Mary McCarron, Executive Director of NIDMS, on the day. Prof. McCarron is also a member of the Board of Stewarts Care. 

 Both Dr McGlinchey and Louise O’Reilly highlighted the importance of this pilot as it supports people with intellectual disability to not only understand the importance of their own brain health but also empowers them to take ownership of healthy ageing. 

 Stewarts Care would like to thank Prof. McCarron, Dr McGlinchey, and the team in NIDMS and TCAID for the opportunity to collaborate and continue this important work supporting healthy ageing of adults with an intellectual disability.

Click here to visit the The National Intellectual Disability Memory Service - Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability website here.