Community Supports Model for People with Dementia

Community Supports Model for People with Dementia - Service Design Summary Document

This publication from the Health Service Executive & Genio is 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 focus of this work has been on dementia, but the learning from the model also has potential for all older people's services and other service areas in Ireland and internationally.

By distilling the learning and innovation from early demonstration sites, the key components of a comprehensive Community Supports Model can act as a catalyst for change and apply at scale in Ireland. 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.

This offers a potential alternative to residential care and focuses on supporting people at home in their own communities for as long as possible. An important feature of the demonstration projects has been the opportunity to ‘reshape’ the expected interaction of people with health and social care services, helping ensure people get the right supports, in the right place at the right time. 

HSE & Genio Dementia Programme Overview

The HSE & Genio Dementia Programme, with support from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Service Executive (HSE), is developing and testing new service models which will improve the range and quality of community-based supports for people with dementia; inform public policy and investment in this area; and build the leadership in the field that is necessary in order to capitalise on the potential of the National Dementia Strategy. This approach is aligned with government policy, which emphasises the provision of services which support people to remain at home, living full lives for as long as possible, and supporting families and local communities in this goal. The high level aim of the programme is to develop and test a range of personalised, flexible and responsive supports and services and to demonstrate how these supports enable people with dementia to live full lives in their community for as long as possible.

The programme has developed incrementally since 2012 and has three main elements:

  1. Community-based supports for people with dementia.
  2. Integrated care pathways (ICP) in acute hospitals for people with dementia.
  3. Supporting the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy.

The work described in this report is testament to the creativity, commitment and hard work of the several hundred people involved in dementia consortia around the country. Particular acknowledgment is owed to the leaders of these consortia who have supported and driven this work over a number of years. The achievements are impressive and have led to direct improvements in the lives of many hundreds of people with dementia and their families.

Impact to date

  • Projects are being supported to develop community-based supports for people with dementia. These projects are based in Cork (Kinsale and Mallow), Dublin, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary.
  • In addition, 3 projects are being supported to develop integrated care pathways for people with dementia to improve access to and discharge from acute hospitals. These projects are based in Connolly Hospital Dublin, St. James’s Hospital Dublin and Mercy Hospital Cork.
  • Hundreds of people with dementia are receiving individualised services under this programme that help keep them engaged in their local communities and living in their own homes.
  • These services are very different to what was previously available. People with dementia and family carers have had an input into what type of supports they need and responsive, individualised services have been put in place.
  • These projects have demonstrated how the service model can change. The intention is that the learning and evidence from these projects will be widely shared so that into the future everyone with dementia and their carers will receive more personalised and costeffective models of care.

Originally published 2015. Revised edition November 2016.

Seminar Programme: Innovation and Learning in Dementia Care

The HSE & Genio Dementia Programme, with support from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been underway since 2012. It is developing and testing new service models to improve the range and quality of community-based supports for people with dementia; inform public policy and investment in this area; and build the leadership in the field that is necessary in order to capitalise on the potential of the National Dementia Strategy.

This event provides an opportunity to learn about innovative developments in dementia care in both community and hospital settings in the southern regions of CHO 4 and 5 and to receive an overview of the national dementia ‘Understand Together’ Campaign. There is also opportunity for peer-to-peer and cross-disciplinary learning and networking. 

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