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Residents with dementia back home-like model of care: study

Aged care residents with dementia feel some elements of care quality are greater in home-like, clustered accommodation models.

That’s according to recently released research from the INSPIRED study.

Researchers asked Australian residents in different models of long-term aged care – the majority of whom were living with dementia – to rate the quality of the care they receive.

While the amount of the care time provided was rated as similar between the models of care, study lead Dr Suzanne Dyer from Flinders University said the residents and family members who responded rated the flexibility of care routines and being able to access the outdoors whenever they wanted as better in a clustered, domestic model of care.

“Changes to the way aged care is provided to better align with a homelike model of care has the potential to better meet consumer preferences,” the article’s authors wrote.

Chief executive of HammondCare Dr Stephen Judd said the home-like model of care, which the provider delivers, is straightforward. “Let people make themselves at home.

“In your own home you have your own space, live by your own schedule, are engaged in meal preparation and cooking, and can go outside when you feel like it,” Judd explained. “With some creative thinking from aged care providers, people living with dementia can still enjoy these freedoms.”

Judd said the study is further proof that the clustered, domestic model is the one consumers want.

Previous research in the INSPIRED study revealed that the model also delivers better outcomes for a comparable cost.

It found residents of these models were less likely to be admitted to hospital and present to an emergency department. They were also 52 per cent less likely to be prescribed a potentially inappropriate medication.

Its authors said in 2010–11, most residential aged care facilities in major Australian cities had more than 60 residential places, and added that the average facility size is growing. By comparison, the home-like model allows for smaller groups of up to 15 people.

Following its release, Judd said the findings surrounding both quality of life and cost should make it a “no brainer” for governments, philanthropists and other aged care investors to back those models that reflect the evidence.

The study was conducted in partnership with the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (CDPC). This partnership includes the University of Sydney, HammondCare, Brightwater Care Group, Helping Hand Aged Care and Dementia Australia.

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