Dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders are major public health challenges in the EU. Their importance relies on the devastating impact they have on the people living with, its huge socioeconomic cost, and the skyrocketing number of patients with it. People with dementia diseases confront a life of progressive disability and early death, and many of them end up living in institutions like nursing homes.
Research is fundamental to tackle these diseases at the EU level -discovering its underlying causes and new treatments-, and nursing research is at the frontline of it. Consequently, the ENRF has been invited to participate in an event organized by the University of Bergen aiming at bringing together all relevant stakeholders to discuss how to foster science and innovation to combat dementia. During the event, participants discussed how a multidisciplinary approach is key for dementia-research. Political and economic support is also needed because even though the European Commission has increased its overall budget for research in the Health Cluster, the portion dedicated to these diseases have decreased. Moreover, there is a trend among healthcare professionals treating with dementia who have moved from “doing things to people” to “doing things for people” – all participants agreed that research has had a role on this shift. In a similar vein, the potential of big-data and e-Health solutions should be exploited.
This event was an opportunity to remember stakeholders that nursing research is in a privileged position for the early identification of dementia, its prevention and management. Thus, investment in nursing research should increase to make sure that nurses’ care is evidence-based and tailored to the people living with neurodegenerative disorders.
Finally, as said in the last ENRF Newsletter, “The ENRF between evidence and policy-making process and act as a contact point for EU policy-makers and politicians in terms of nursing research in the EU”. Hence, it is necessary that nurses are actively involved in the development and implementation of policies for tackling dementia at all levels – EU, nationally, and locally.