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Despite a low level of popular advocacy for older people, specialist medical and psychiatric services for older people have developed rapidly in Ireland, and geriatric medicine has become the largest medical specialty in hospital practice. Official policy has incorporated significant recognition of the special needs of older people, but implementation of these policies has been variable and inadequate. No significant transfer of funding has accompanied advances in specialist medical manpower, and there are deficiencies in the full complement of rehabilitation therapists available in the hospitals and the community. Community and long-term care services are relatively underdeveloped; it may require legislative initiatives similar to the Older Americans Act to prompt the profound improvement required in these areas.

(C) 2003 by the American Geriatrics Society