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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Cahill, Suzanne
Main Department Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy
College Title Research Assoc Prof/Director DSIDC
College Tel  
Fax 35318963240
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.
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
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Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Interdem Member 2005
The Gerontological Society of America
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Council of Europe Scholarship 1985-1986
PhD Scholarship Award The University of Queensland 1991
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
French Fluent Medium Basic
Swedish Basic Basic Basic
Description of Research Interests
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
Research Projects
Project title Evaluation of Genio Dementia Programme
Summary There are two components to this evaluation project. The first consists of updating in accordance with Census 2011 data, dementia prevalence rates in the four geographical areas where the Genio projects are currently taking place. The second component involves an evaluation of the new respite care services being introduced at two of the Genio sites, in Stillorgan/Blackrock and Clonmel. The key objective of the respite evaluation is to examine obstacles and facilitators to the use of respite care services for people living with dementia in the community. Outputs will include a major research report and a seminar or workshop.
Funding Agency Genio
Type of Project Research Evaluation
Date from January 2013
Date to January 2014
Person Months

Project title Research Recommendations for Dementia and Home Design for Ireland looking at new build and retrofitting homes from a Universal Design Approach
Summary This study which aims to produce a set of guidelines for architects involved in building or retrofitting homes for people with dementia has been commissioned by the Centre for Universal Design at the National Disability Authority. Whilst a lot of attention has recently been focused on customising nursing homes for people with dementia less is known about adapting and retrofitting domestic dwellings for those living with dementia in the community to help them cope better with their disability. This project addresses this task. The work is being jointly undertaken by staff from the DSIDC's Living with Dementia Programme at Trinity College and TrinityHaus. The project involves a literature review, in-depth interviews with key stakeholders including people with dementia and their caregivers, a review of Case Studies and a number of workshops. It is hoped that the guidelines developed will help people with dementia to remain living at home safely and securely for as long as possible.
Funding Agency Centre for Universal Design (NDA)
Type of Project Inter-Disciplinary Research Project
Date from December 2012
Date to September 2013
Person Months

Project title Post-Graduate research in dementia care
Summary The primary aim of this programme is to conduct research into optimum care for people diagnosed with dementia. Key activities include the recruitment and supervison of young academics to develop research competencies in areas previously under-investigated in Ireland, the development of collaborative arrangements between care environments such as nursing homes, day care centres and hospitals and research centres and the training of PhD students in the area of dementia care. A seminar series and annual conference with invited national and international speakers is also an integral component of this programme as is the dissemination of research findings. Several of the works published in peer reviewed journals have now been made available to the public in the format of information kits and booklets. These can be downloaded from our website.
Funding Agency The Atlantic Philanthropies
Type of Project Research and Education
Date from 2007
Date to 2013
Person Months

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Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
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
Suzanne Cahill, Daphne Doran and Max Watson, 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
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
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
Non Peer Reviewed
Dementia and Quality of Life Issues in Older People in, editor(s)Phellas, Constantinos , Aging in European Societies, 2012, [Ponce-Diaz, A. & Cahill, S.]
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Last Updated:23-SEP-2014