Alliance established to promote small household care settings

A global consortium has formed to advocate for the wider adoption of small household models of residential aged care.

A new global consortium has formed to advocate for the wider adoption of small household models of residential aged care.

Australia’s HammondCare, the United Kingdom’s Belong group and The Green House Project in the United States of America have united as founding members of the Household Model International Consortium to promote the benefits for residents living in small-scale congregate settings.

Dementia care specialists HammondCare pioneered the small household model in Australia by adopting its cottage model 25 years ago.

“Our experience is that the small household form of residential care provides reductions in hospital admissions, lower use of medications, and a higher quality of life for the residents,” said HammondCare chief executive officer Mike Baird.

Representatives from the three organisations (pictured above) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday at the Australian High Commission in London.

As well as advocacy, the consortium will share research to deepen understanding of the household model of care and how it can be further developed and enhanced.

Belong Villages – which operates eight care communities for older people – was one of the early adopters of the household model for people living with dementia in the UK.

“Our experience has really challenged traditional thinking around what is possible to achieve in terms of outcomes and quality of life for older people,” said Belong CEO Martin Rix.

Reaction to the household model has been conclusive, he said. “The feedback from the healthcare professionals we link with, as well as from the families, is overwhelmingly positive, with the smaller household setting really proving conducive to the formation of strong relationships between both residents themselves and, in addition, residents and members of the care team.”

Susan Ryan is CEO of Centre for Innovation – the non-profit parent of The Green House Project, which established the Green House model of care 20 years ago.

The Green House model promotes non-institutional aged care environments aimed at empowering the lives of the people who both live and work in them.

Ms Ryan – who appeared at the inaugural conference of Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia in Adelaide last month (pictured above) – said significant learnings had been gleaned from establishing almost 400 small-scale homes in more than 30 states across America. She said she was looking forward to sharing the findings with the consortium.

“I’m delighted to join with our partners in eldercare transformation from around the world to share what we’ve learned and build the next generation of services and supports for elders everywhere.”  

South Australian aged care and retirement living provider ACH Group will be the first to implement the Green House model of care in Australia when it opens a new aged care home – Healthia – in Adelaide in August.

“Residents living at Healthia will feel an increased sense of control, have an improved quality of life, and a fulfilling and positive experience,” said ACH CEO Frank Weits.

When the aged care royal commission released its final report in 2021, it recommended smaller, lower density living arrangements – especially for people living with dementia – for future aged care design.

Main image: Martin Rix, Susan Ryan and Mike Baird

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Tags: ach, belong villages, frank weits, hammondcare, Household Model International Consortium, martin rix, mike baird, susan ryan, the greenhouse project,

1 thought on “Alliance established to promote small household care settings

  1. Great to see this new alliance. Hopefully Group Homes Australia, various Dutch (e.g. Hogeweyk), French ( e.g. Les Parenteles) and Scandinavian providers (e.g. Sopimusvuori) will join… There has to be a concerted effort to offer choice, at comparable cost, to the ‘hotel’ model that is proliferating in Australia and elsewhere. While the idea (read ‘policy’) that competition and choice will support innovation and improvement in design and residential aged care offerings, the policy misunderstood the market. Time-poor, harried adult children are the purchasers of age care accommodation, not the eventual residents. The choice of an adult child is driven by “I could stay here where everything is taken care of”, whereas Mum is left bereft of purpose, wondering how the hell she will pay for this hotel, and packing her bags daily to head ‘home’ to life routines and activities she has followed for decades.

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