Researchers at the University of Chichester are set to review a groundbreaking dementia care model designed by the charity Dementia Support that may enhance the lives of 900,000 UK dementia patients.
The model – known as Sage House – is a community hub that amalgamates a range of dementia care services to optimise treatment for patients are their caregivers. Due to its success, academics University of Chichester have been appointed to assess its value and if it should be implemented by health organisations across the UK.
Dr Rachel King, a researcher at the University of Chichester, said: “Due to the UK’s ageing population, the prevalence of dementia has been projected to rise steeply in the coming years, meaning post-diagnostic dementia care that helps to maintain wellbeing is essential.
“If we follow World Alzheimer’s recommendations, the most effective approach to delivering high-quality and effective healthcare is to shift to post-diagnostic support services based in primary and community-led care.”
The growing UK dementia rate
According to a London School of Economics study, the number of people living with dementia in the UK is forecasted to be around 1.6 million by 2040. This significant increase will cost the economy up to £94.1 billion in associated medical, social, and unpaid care costs, nearly the entire NHS annually budget.
Dementia Support established Sage House in 2014 and has helped thousands of patients and their families regain independence. The model currently provides dementia care for nearly 650 patients, integrating services such as therapies, diagnostic support, mental and social stimulation, and personal care in collaboration with nearby councils and community and voluntary groups.
Evaluating dementia care
Before assessing the dementia care model, the University researchers will compare the impact of Sage House on the quality of life for patients, family members, and carers and the financial benefits for the NHS.
Dr King commented: “Dementia Support’s promising new model aligns with World Alzheimer’s recommendations and is implemented in a comprehensive and integrated hub at Sage House.
“This continuity of care and wraparound support has the potential to improve wellbeing not only for individuals living with dementia but also for their caregivers. Our review will identify whether this model provides better quality-of-life outcomes compared to the existing non-integrative model and will evaluate whether it is cost-effective.”
The team will also review variations in outcomes based on the New Economics Foundation’s five ways to wellbeing public health plan: connection, being active, taking notice, learning and giving. The researchers are scheduled to complete the first stage of the evaluation by spring 2023, with the final report published at the end of the year.
Sally Tabbner, the CEO of Sage House, concluded: “The appointment of the University of Chichester marks an important milestone in our ambitions to work with other communities to grow and support people living with dementia, their families, and carers, as there is still so much more that is needed and to do.”