Residential Care for Older People is a significant element of service provision for Older People in Ireland. Like other countries there is ongoing debate around funding mechanisms, capacity and concerns over the quality of services. While we strive to reorient our services away from institutional care, it remains the biggest consumer of our older persons finances while providing care for 4.6% of people over 65.
The growing body of knowledge around quality of life (as opposed to quality of care) has led us challenge the existing model of care, which, despite the efforts of many, tends to be biased towards a biomedical approach. A number of initiatives aimed at improving well being have been undertaken with mixed results, with sustainability being the most difficult challenge.
A number of partners have come together to create a new impetus for change. Building on the knowledge around person centred care, quality initiatives such as ten steps to healthy ageing, experience of the culture change movement in the United States and Palliative Care programmes initiatives, we are challenging the current perceptions and policies.
The aim is to create a person-centred and empowered culture, supported by facilities appropriate to the needs of current and future generation of Older People needing long term Residential Care.
The overall purpose is to drive a change in culture from the task orientated institutional approach to one which supports older people to continue to direct their own lives supported by consistent and valued teams of Health Care staff. .
The challenge is multifaceted and includes creating enabling environments,
changing the culture of care and adopting person centred practices, while acknowledging the need for high quality medical and nursing care, and challenging the assumptions of Older People and the wider society around what can be achieved in Residential Care.