Dudelange could become a centre for specialist Alzheimer’s care under plans to reorganise hospitals in the south and build one large hospital in Esch.
The €542 million Südspidol will offer traditional hospital treatments as well as oncology, rehabilitation, geriatrics and psychiatry and 583 beds across three buildings. Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, health minister Lydia Mutsch said the current hospital in Esch would be sold.
She added that hospital centres in Niederkorn and Dudelange would continue as primary healthcare centre while specialist Alzeimer’s care could be offered from Dudelange.
The suggestion appears to be timely as a recent OECD report found the number of people living with the disease across member countries reached 19 million in 2017. The report forecast healthcare costs for treating people with the illness would reach $1 trillion per year in 2018.
“As the share of the population aged above 80 years continues to rise, and until a cure or disease modifying treatment is found, the number of people living with dementia will continue to grow and is likely to reach nearly 41 million people in the OECD by 2050,” the report author wrote.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia affecting 60% of all cases. It is caused by the accumulation of pathogenic protein in nerve cells in the brain and between these nerve cells.
According to the Luxembourg Institute of Health, 3.8% of over 64s studied in Luxembourg suffer from dementia and 26.1% suffer cognitive difficulties. This rate is lower than across Europe (6.4%) and the OECD average (5%), a phenomenon which is thought to be related to the multilingualism of people in Luxembourg which could generate cognitive reserves.