News : Dementia Helpline Launched
Valletta, Malta, Aug 3, 2015 -- A dementia helpline, 1771, was launched today.
Adrian Farrugia, the acting charge nurse of St Vincent de Paul’s activities centre, said the helpline will be operated by four nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is intended for use by dementia sufferers and their families for anything they might need, be it services, problems or assistance. There are some 6,000 known dementia sufferers in Malta.
The four nurses have been trained to deal with any possible problems.
The helpline will be operated from St Vincent de Paul between 7am and 4pm, after which the nurses would be on call. The service starts today.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Care of the Elderly Justyne Caruana said that dementia in Malta should not be underestimated.
Dementia, she said, was referred to as the contemporary tsunami since it had a huge impact on the economy.
"If we are not proactive and take action now, the health services could collapse as a result of dementia in future," she warned.
She said that interviews were currently being carried out to set up dementia intervention teams. There would be a team of professionals in each region, visiting people in the community and assisting them. This was over and above the helpline.
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Asked about electronic tagging for sufferers of dementia, Dr Caruana said this was an ethical issue and the discussion about it had yet to start.
Charles Scerri, the man who wrote the dementia strategy as well as Active Aging Commission chairman Marvin Formosa will take part in the debate.
Dr Caruana also said there were plans for the law to be amended to enable people to register what they would want should they become dementia sufferers in future.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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