The Health Service Executive & Genio published the first comprehensive Community Supports Model for People with Dementia in Ireland. Although informed by international learning, this model is a unique Irish innovation and draws from the experience of four key demonstration projects undertaken across Ireland from 2012-15. The learning from the model also has potential for all older people's services and other service areas in Ireland and internationally.

The model puts people with dementia and their families at the centre of service design and demonstrates an approach which engages with the wider community and mainstream services, as well as health and social care services.

The four core components of the community supports model are outlined in a report by Genio (2016) and are:

1. Personalised Supports

Personalised supports are essentially reponses that meet the specific and changing needs of the person with dementia and their family carer. They are created with the person and their family; are normalising and destigmatising in design; are created in response to an individual rather than a pre-prescibed menu of services that are group based; and place emphasis on maintaining ability and connection for the person with dementia and providing flexible and responsive supports that meet the person’s changing needs.

The core elements of personalised supports that have been developed as part of the community supports model are: mechanisms that support timely diagnosis, post-diagnostic support and information, supports that maintain ability and connection, supports that are flexible and responsive and include respite and assistive technology.

2. Dementia Consortium

The optimal means to implement a community supports model is through a consortium approach. Membership of this consortium should include representation from the seven broad interest groups of people with dementia and their family carers, GP and primary health care services, acute hospitals, mental health services, home help & home support services, mainstream service agencies, non-health agencies (e.g. transport) and community and voluntary organistions. All parties work collaboratively in a structured, purposeful and action-oriented way to co-ordinate formal state-funded resources from health and other sectors with resources from the community and voluntary sector and unpaid/voluntary contributions. The objective is to create a holistic, sustainable and personalised response that meets a wide range of needs of people with dementia and their families in a personalised way.

3. Care and Support ecosystem

This consortium model essentially provides access to an informed and active ‘care and support ecosystem’ of family, wider social networks, mainstream organisations and health and social care. This ecosystem of support will become informed and knowledgeable about dementia and can actively support people with dementia in their communities to remain living well at home for as long as possible.

4. Single point of contact

Within this consortium is a single point of contact that leads on and promotes the development and delivery of a personalised response for people with dementia. The consortium provides access to all of the key players who can actively support people with dementia and the single point of contact leads on building the knowledge and confidence about dementia and personalised working required within this care and support ecosystem. 

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Pearse St., Dublin 2, D02 YH27, Ireland
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