The best models were emotions and strengths based, relational, empowering and person centred. They focused on support rather than care, living a familiar, ordinary and preferred life, staying connected to the community and having meaning and purpose. Organisations were non-hierarchical, relaxed and informal and staff were recruited for their empathy and emotional intelligence. Support was social and inclusive, uniforms were avoided, and staff were multiskilled. Life stories were crucial as were volunteers, friendships, relationships and living with one’s contemporaries.
Small scale, familiar and enriched household environments were beneficial if the right approach and people were in place. Innovative buildings and settings, rich colour, familiar items and a domestic ambience also supported function and wellbeing.
Best practice was broader than quality care and included individualised, respectful and holistic support (in partnership with people living with dementia) that enhanced dignity and considered social context and lived experience.
I plan to share the best practice examples widely by speaking at conferences, talking with peak bodies and stakeholders, sharing with my network and continuing to drive culture change in my current role.
- Continue to develop support that enables people to live well with dementia and stay at home for longer
- Reform residential services to provide true person centred, strengths based, emotional and enabling support that embraces peoples’ preferences, needs and life experiences to enhance wellbeing through meaning, purpose and connection
- Create age appropriate, dementia friendly, small scale household environments where people can live with their peers and be supported to live a full, familiar and preferred life
Keywords: Person centred, dementia, household model, wellbeing, quality of life, young onset, peers, enabling, enriched, small scale