The overarching objective of the community supports model is to provide person-centred care that allows people with dementia to stay at home and to enable those with dementia who may have been inappropriately placed in residential care to move back to their local communities with adequate and appropriate supports.
The Genio-HSE Hospital Dementia project is located at the interface between acute hospitals and community supports. It also aims to keep people at home for as long as possible by facilitating the development of Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs). Its goal is to reduce the number of people with dementia in acute hospitals by preventing admission in the first place and by reducing length of stay should admission be necessary.
On the Ground
Overall the Genio work has been critical in creating an evidence base for community based care – not just to demonstrate that it is possible and that it works, but to provide evidence of its economic advantages, most notably in keeping people out of long-stay care. This in turn has helped build evidence for a radical shift in future resource allocation patterns for dementia in Ireland – helping to move the focus from residential to community-based care.
Focusing on Responsive Caring
Genio in the community concentrated on supporting services and carers already working with people with dementia to do what they were doing better. This meant moving towards responsive caring – to looking after people’s physical needs, interests and comforts.One client, Michael, benefited from this responsive approach to caring. Michael’s family were about to sell the last three cows on the farm. But the support worker discovered that he was still very interested in husbandry. Instead of selling the cows, the family kept them and the support worker and Michael frequently walked the land to visit the cows. This provided Michael with a great focus. As his family carer said: “He knows when to expect her (support worker) … he has his coat and hat on and his wellies by the door ….”