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Intellectual Disability, Mental Health and Dementia

  • Education and Research Centre, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's X
  • 9.30 - 4.00
  • 22 Sep 2017

Full day conference with the IASW and Social Care Ireland


€20 IASW members/ €40 non-members

Price includes lunch and refreshments

Full conference details to follow shortly.


Book online on the Social Care Ireland website at


Speaker Biographies

Dr Damien Brennan is an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, where his teaching and research are focused on the sociology of health and illness. His agenda of research examines ‘Contexts of Care Provision in Ireland’ which seeks to understanding Ireland’s problematic institutional past, while also examining the capacity for care provision within communities and families within contemporary ‘post-institutional’ Irish society, with particular reference to intellectual disability and mental illness. This research agenda has been supported with funding from bodies such as the Irish Research Council, the National Disability Authority, and the Irish Penal Reform Trust.  Dr Brennan acts as a public intellectual disseminating research through Books, Journal Articles, TV Documentaries, Radio, Print Media, Key Note Addresses and Public Lectures. Damien will speak about Care and Capacity in the Domestic Space: Current and Future Challenges

Nasrin O'Kelly is a social worker at St Micheal's House, Ballymun, Nasrin has worked as a medical social worker and with elderly patients who were diagnosed with dementia. Nasrine has worked in the area of Intellectual disability for the past 15 years. As part of her role she works in a special Alzheimer unit for services users with dementia/ Alzheimers. Nasrin will speak on Social Work Perspective on Dementia and Intellectual Disability - Supporting service users and their families experiencing transition.

Evelyn Reilly is a Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disability Nursing (RNID) and has a particular interest in ageing and care of the older person with intellectual disability (ID). As one of the first Clinical Nurse Specialists in ID and Dementia, she manages the day-to-day operations of a service wide Memory Clinic for the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Service.   She plays a lead role in assessing the symptoms of dementia, contributing to final diagnosis in consultation with other practitioners, and offers training in dementia care to all levels of staff, family, and peers.   She works closely with IDS-TILDA at Trinity College Dublin, and is activity involved in research for the study of the complex interrelationship between pre-existing impairment, physical, psychosocial and environmental factors that affect healthy ageing in persons with an Intellectual Disability. Evelyn will focus on The Impact of Ageing and Dementia for People with Down Syndrome

Background and Context

Intellectual disability (ID) involves a lifelong and greater than average difficulty in intellectual, social and vocational ability with significant deficits in adaptive skills and covers a range of conditions and syndromes including Down’s syndrome. Increasingly people with ID are living longer with implications for the provision of HSE services in particular, residential care and mental health services. Studies show that the prevalence of dementia appears about the same as in the general population. However, the prevalence of dementia among people with Down’s syndrome is higher and has increased from 15.8% to 29.9% between 2010 and 2014 (Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). The average age of the onset of dementia for people with Down’s syndrome is 55 years old, with some cases presenting in their 40s. People with ID who are diagnosed with dementia may require specific supports and services but most continue to live within the community.

The TILDA report shows that the vast majority of people with intellectual disability live at home with family or with carers.  The improved life expectancy among adults with severe intellectual disability has placed an increased demand on full-time residential services as fewer places are becoming free over time.


Conference Aims

As such, this conference aims to provide information and increase understanding among Health and Social Care Professions (HSCPs) about

  • the mental health needs of service users with intellectual disabilities, with a particular focus on dementia
  • how to recognise early signs of dementia and other mental health difficulties & illnesses and how to secure a timely diagnosis for service users
  • Conducting a needs assessment
  • Connecting service users with appropriate services and resources
  • Working with families and carers



  • Registration is not currently open