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Dr. Suzanne Cahill

Research Assoc Prof/Director DSIDC (Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy)


Suzanne Cahill is a Research Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College and the National Director of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre at St James's hospital Dublin. She holds a B.Soc. Science and M.Soc. Science from UCD, a Dip. Soc.Studies from the University of Stockholm (Sweden) and a PhD from the University of Queensland (Australia). After graduating from UCD, she practiced in Social Work for many years in Ireland and after emigrating to Australia was employed as a College tutor and College lecturer at the University of Queensland. In 1992 she was awarded a Scholarship from the University of Queensland to complete her doctoral thesis written on the topic of family caregiving, dementia and social policy. Prior to returning to Ireland in 1999, she held the post of Social Work Team Leader with the Aged Care Assessment Team at Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. Since 2000, Suzanne has been teaching courses on Ageing and Social Policy and Ageing and Dementia to under-graduate Social Work and Social Policy students at Trinity College Dublin. Since 2007, she has also been Director of the Living with Dementia programme, an Atlantic Philanthropies funded programme of psycho-social research designed to investigate non-pharmacological interventions in dementia care. Through this programme, Suzanne has graduated 15 higher degree theses, including 5 PhDs. She has also supervised two post-docs. Her current research interests include dementia in primary care, quality of life and Alzheimer's disease, formal and informal caregiving and architectural design and dementia. Suzanne has published over 40 articles in national and international journals, eight book chapters and five major commissioned reports. Her works have been published in a diverse range of medical and social science journals including; the Australian Journal of Social Issues, the Australian-Asian Journal on Ageing, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Ageing and Mental Health, Age and Ageing, Ageing in Society, the Australian Journal of Family Studies, Technology and Disability, Australian Social Work and the Scandinavian Journal for Social Medicine. She has also developed two educational videos which continue to be purchased and used in national and international training. Over the years, she has campaigned for the rights of people with dementia and for some ten years, she served on the Queensland Branch of the Alzheimers Australia. She is a former Vice President. She has also developed a suite of information kits and booklets aimed at de-stigmatizing dementia and upskilling the public. In 2011, Suzanne along with colleagues in ICSG (NUI Galway) were commissioned to undertake the research review required to underpin Ireland's forthcoming national dementia strategy. She is the lead author of this research report titled "Creating Excellence in Dementia Care" and the lead author of the manual titled" Future Dementia Care in Ireland; Sharing the Evidence to Mobilise Action". In 2012 Suzanne co-founded Ireland's first Alzheimer Cafe and is currently the Chairperson of the Alzheimer Cafe and Chairperson of the National Alzheiemer Cafes. She has been a member of the HIQA Committee for National Residential Care Standards and more recently serves on the new HIQA Committee established to revise these standards. She is also a member of the National Working Group on Dementia established by the Minister for Health for the development of the Irish National Dementia Strategy. She is on the Editorial Board of the journal Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice and is a member of InterDem and the Gerontological Society of America.
 An Irish National Survey of Dementia in Long Stay Residential Care
 Evaluation of Genio Dementia Programme
 Research Recommendations for Dementia and Home Design for Ireland looking at new build and retrofitting homes from a Universal Design Approach
 Post-Graduate research in dementia care
 Creating an Evidence Base to Develop a National Dementia Strategy for Ireland

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Details Date
Member of Department of Health and Children's Working Group on National Dementia Strategy 2013
Member of HIQA Advisory Group for the revision of the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland 2013
Co-Founder and Chairperson of Donnybrook (Dublin) Alzheimer's Cafe 2012-2013
Member of EngAge - Trinity Ageing Consortium 2012-2013
Member of the Ageing Well Network 2007-2013
Chair of National Dementia Advisory Committee 2010-2011
Steering Committee Member Trinity Consortium in Ageing 2008-2010
Working Group Member on Restraint in Designated Centres for Older People (Department of Health and Children) 2010 on
Working Group Member (HIQA) on the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People 2007-2008
Chairperson and Member of Working Group (HSE) on Residential Services for the Person with Dementia 2006-2007
Steering Committee Member of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, St James Hospital 1999-2007
Advisory Committee Member of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, St James Hospital 1999-2007
Member of New Monitoring Committee established for the Implementation of the Irish National Dementia Strategy 2015
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
French Fluent Medium Basic
Swedish Basic Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
Interdem Member 2005
The Gerontological Society of America
Connolly S, Gillespie P, O'Shea E, Cahill S, and Pierce M., Estimating the economic and social costs of dementia in Ireland. , Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 2012, p1 - 18, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Cahill S, Doran D & Watson M, Guidelines for Nursing Homes delivering End-of-Life Care to Residents with Dementia across the island of Ireland, Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 13, (1), 2012, p60-71 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Moore, V. & Cahill, S., Diagnosis and Disclosure of Dementia - A Comparative Qualitative Study of Irish and Swedish General Practitioners, Ageing and Mental Health, 17, (1), 2012, p84 - 77-84, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Pierce, M., Cahill, S. & O'Shea, E., Planning dementia services: New estimates of current and future prevalence rates of dementia for Ireland, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 2012, Journal Article, SUBMITTED
Cahill S & Diaz-Ponce A, "I hate having nobody here, I'd like to know where they all are": Can qualitative research detect differences in Quality of Life among Nursing Home Residents with different levels of Cognitive Impairment? , Ageing and Mental Health, 15, (5), 2011, p562-572 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Cahill, S., Developing a National Dementia Strategy for Ireland, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 25, 2010, p912 - 916, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Time and Dementia in, editor(s)Jane Gilliard, Mary Marshall and James Mc Killop , Time and Dementia: A Collection of Writing on the Meanings of Time and Dementia, London, Hawker, 2010, [Cahill, S.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S., Alzheimer's Disease in Ireland, Modern Medicine, 40, 2010, p40-41-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S, Diaz-Ponce,A, Coen, R, & Walsh, C. , The Underdetection of Cognitive Impairment in Nursing Homes in the Dublin area: The Need for on-going Cognitive Assessment , Age and Ageing , 39, (1), 2010, p128 - 130, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Health Technologies for People with Early Dementia: The Enable Project in, editor(s)Esme Moniz-Cook and Jill Manthorpe , Early Psychosocial Interventions in Dementia Care Evidence Based Practice , London , Jessica Kingsley , 2009, pp115 - 131, [Cahill, S., Begley, E., and Hagen, I. ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED

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Dementia and Quality of Life Issues in Older People in, editor(s)Phellas, Constantinos , Aging in European Societies, 2012, [Ponce-Diaz, A. & Cahill, S.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S., O'Shea, E., & Pierce, M., Creating Excellence in Dementia Care, Dublin, Ireland, January, 2012, 1-168, Report, PUBLISHED
The Historical Context of Rehabilitation and its Application to Dementia Car in, editor(s)M. Marshall , Perspectives on Rehabilitation and Dementia, London, Jessica Kingsley, 2005, pp30 - 38, [Cahill, S.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S., Review of A Handbook of Dementia Care, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 17, (1), 2003, p119-120 , Review, PUBLISHED
Begley, E,. & Cahill, S., Carers why women?, Studies, 92, (366), 2003, p162 - 171, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Food and dementia: What are some of the Myths? in, editor(s)M. Marshall , Food, Glorious Food: Perspectives on Food and Dementia, London, Hawker Publication, 2003, pp31 - 33, [Cahill, S.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S., Review of Working with Older People and their Families: Key issues in Policy and Practice, Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 1, (1), 2002, Review, PUBLISHED
Cahill, S., & Headon, M., Dementia and Personhood: Can social work help to re-discover the person?, Irish Social Worker, 20, 2002, p13 - 16, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Caregiver considerations in institutionalising dementia patients in, editor(s)D. O'Neill , Carers Professionals and Alzheimer's Disease, London, Libbey & Co., 1991, pp37 - 42, [Cahill, S., & Rosenman, L.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Rosenman, L. & Cahill, S., Economic and Social Costs of Alzheimers Disease, Balance, Journal For The Queensland Association Mental Health, 1, (2), 1989, p18 - 23, Journal Article, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Council of Europe Scholarship 1985-1986
PhD Scholarship Award The University of Queensland 1991
My research interests are in the area of (i) Social Policy and Dementia, (ii) GPs, Diagnosis, Disclosure and Alzheimer's disease, (iii) End of Life and Dementia Care Standards (iv) Quality of Life and (v) Family Caregiving. I have published articles and book chapters on these topics nationally and internationally. The LiD programme of Research of which I am Director, is a coherent package of post-graduate psycho-social research in dementia. The programme which supports 5 PhD students is underpinned by three main themes namely (i)the therapeutic effects of group living for people with dementia, (ii)the subjective experiences of people diagnosed with dementia and (iii)training and educational needs of health service professionals. The programme aims to tackle the marginalization of people with dementia and overcome some widespread misconceptions held in society about Alzheimer's Disease and the related dementias. Ultimately the programme aims to enhance practice and service provision and to improve quality of life for all those diagnosed with dementia and their family caregivers. Inherent in the philosophy underpinning the programme is the belief that psycho-social interventions in dementia care make a real difference and can improve quality of life in people diagnosed and reduce caregiver burden. The programme also seeks to impact on policy development and contribute to the design of best practice models