DSDC has been working to help the families and informal carers of people living with dementia since 2011 across Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East of England and Cumbria. Through the facilitation of four hour workshops, in collaboration with local carers support organisations, carers are engaged with practical information and strategies for coping with the changes that can come in the dementia journey. Each workshop focusses on issues around depression, delirium, changes in communication and behaviour, and it provides tips and strategies from the Ten Helpful Hints series of publications. The topics were chosen through consultation with carers about issues that were of greatest concern to them. Well over 1000 carers have attended, and the workshop format is now being used by one of DSDC’s partner organisations, Life Care, in Australia to meet the need for family carer education in their local communities.
Throughout the duration of the programme DSDC has sought to involve local support organisations to be present on the day of the workshop so that carers will have made local links for support by the end of the course. Currently the project is focussing on strengthening the knowledge base among the support organisations that are involved and are funding a development course for eight people who are involved in the planning, carer recruitment and support from the local communities of North East England and Cumbria. It is the goal of this phase of the project to train organisations to carry on with the workshop provision within their local communities.
Co-production methodology to explore quality of life
The “A Good Life in Later Years” project, funded by the Life Changes Trust and undertaken in collaboration with Age Scotland, adopts a unique and innovative methodology to identify what older people feel is important to quality of life, and what is needed to achieve/maintain a good life in later years.
In this presentation we will introduce the methodology, which included 30 people over the age of 50 volunteering as researchers in five community research teams across Scotland. The project saw older people as equal partners in the research process with community research teams being central to capturing and analysing visual representations of a good life, running and analysis data from focus groups, and developing a questionnaire to be distributed to people across Scotland. With an emergent approach, analysis at each stage of the approach was undertaken jointly by University and community researchers, and informed the subsequent stages of the research. This inclusive approach proved enjoyable and educational for community researchers, and has seen older people having a substantial role in generating in-depth and rich data on quality of life in later years.
The aim of this study is to examine whether receiving home care will reduce the probability of emergency readmissions of older people, with a particular interest in the differences between people with and without dementia. Our data uses linked administrative health and social care records (2010-2011). It provides us a complete history of every patient's National Health Service (NHS) hospital admissions within a 12-month follow-up period, which can be linked with the information on social care usage collected by local authorities. Our analysis uses an extension of the Cox model, the conditional risk set model, which incorporates multiple events as a given patient could be readmitted more than once. We find no evidence that receiving home care reduces the risk of emergency readmissions for patients without dementia, or for patients who live with others. However, our results have shown that receiving home care is strongly associated with a reduced risk of emergency readmission for patients living with dementia and for older people living alone. This population-based study provides empirical evidence that home care can play an effective role in easing the pressure faced by the health system. It offers valuable implications for the health and social care integration process carried on in Scotland and other countries in Europe.