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Dr. Suzanne Cahill

Adjunct Associate Professor (Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy)


Suzanne Cahill is the National Director of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre at St James's hospital Dublin and a Research Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity College. 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). She has worked as a Social Work practitioner, University College lecturer and researcher in both Ireland and Australia where she wrote her PhD whilst employed full time at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Her PhD was on the topic of Dementia, Social Policy and Family Caregiving. 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 and in the last 7 years, 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 6 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. She has published over 50 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 on understanding dementia and challenging behaviours which continue to be purchased and used in national and international training. Over the years, Suzanne has campaigned for the rights of people with dementia and for some ten years, she served on the Queensland Branch of the Alzheimers Australia and is a former Vice President. In 2012 she co-founded Ireland's first Alzheimer Cafe and is currently the Chairperson of the Alzheimer Cafe and Chairperson of the National Alzheimer Cafes. She has in recent years developed a suite of information kits and booklets for family caregivers and persons with mild to moderate dementia aimed at de-stigmatizing Alzheimer's disease and upskilling the public. At a policy level, she was the lead author of the research report titled "Creating Excellence in Dementia Care" used to underpin Ireland's National Dementia Strategy and the lead author of the report titled" Future Dementia Care in Ireland; Sharing the Evidence to Mobilise Action", a manual developed for lay people to disseminate research findings. She has been a member of the HIQA Committee for National Residential Care Standards and more recently served on the HIQA Committee established to revise these standards. She is also a member of the National Monitoring Group on Dementia established in 2015 by the Minister for Health to implement the Strategies key priority areas. 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
 ENABLE: European research on technology and dementia
 Architecture and Dementia: An Exploratory Study of Nursing Homes and their Spatial Environment
 Male Family Caregivers and Dementia

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Details Date
Member of Department of Health's Working Group on National Dementia Strategy 2013-2014
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
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
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, , & Pierce, . , Estimating the Economic and Social Costs of Dementia in Ireland , Dementa: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice , 13, (1), 2014, p5 - 22, 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
Cahill, S, Pierce, M., Werner, P., Darley, A & Bobersky, A. , A Systematic Review of the Public's Knowledge and Understanding of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders , Journal Article, IN_PRESS
Cahill, S., Behaviours that Challenge: Some Suggestions for Family Caregivers., Clinical Focus, 8, (2), 2008, p4 - 6, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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Cahill, S., O'Nolan, C., O'Caheny, D., & Boberksy, A., An Irish National Survey of Dementia in Long Stay Residential Care , DSIDC , DSIDC , January , 2015, p1 - 53, Report, PUBLISHED
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


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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