Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Older People with Alcohol-Related Brain Injury and Associated Complex Behaviors: A Psychosocial Model of Residential Care (the Wicking Project)

Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Older People with Alcohol-Related Brain Injury and Associated Complex Behaviors: A Psychosocial Model of Residential Care (the Wicking Project)

Article excerpt

The increasing need for specialist residential aged care services to support older people with complex behaviors resulting from dementia and alcohol-related brain injury was the impetus for the development of an exploratory action research trial. Affected individuals are commonly characterized by a unique set of needs and life circumstances that are not adequately or appropriately supported by currently available mainstream services. We discuss the synthesis, design, and key features of the research trial's specialized model, which commenced in 2008 in Wintringham, Australia. The trial was recently completed in November 2009. Through the development of a specialized residential care model, we aim to move one step closer to providing appropriate support to one of the most needing yet highly marginalized group of people.

Keywords: alcohol; older people; model of care; residential; complex behaviors

The Wicking Project commenced in Melbourne Australia in October 2006. The groundwork for the project involved designing a "Specialized Supported Model of Residential Care" specifically aimed at providing appropriate residential care and support to older people with dementia and challenging behaviors resulting from alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI). The project aims to make a significant contribution to improving the quality and appropriateness of care and support options available to this often forgotten and neglected group of people and to enable them to live out their final years in dignity and respect. Currently, the Wicking Project is actively testing and refining this model through an 18-month residential trial. We discuss the synthesis of the model and key features of its design that has assisted a group of disadvantaged people to live dignified and fulfilling lives.

The focus of the Wicking Project reflects the population of older people who have a history of homelessness, financial disadvantage, and complex care needs as a result of ARBI. The project aims to influence government and policymakers with a view to changing systemic responses to the needs of older people with ARBI. This will be achieved by increasing the awareness among policymakers of the gaps that exist within the current service system in the delivery of appropriately specialized services to meet the needs of these people and by offering a solution in the form of a validated model of specialized care and support.

The project is fully titled "Older People With Acquired Brain Injury and Associated Complex Behaviors: A Psychosocial Model of Care That Supports Long-Term Residential Care Needs ( The Wicking Project)" and is funded by a Major Strategic Initiative Grant from the J. O. & J. R. Wicking Trust, which is managed by ANZ Trustees Ltd. The Wicking Project is supported by a highly regarded and esteemed advistory committee of representatives from academic and key service industries.

The funding of this project has provided the homeless and aged care service industries with the opportunity to develop and trial a much-needed specialized service that would otherwise not have been possible because of the prohibitive costs associated with the delivery of such an intensive service model. Orchestrated and implemented by Wintringham, a not-for-profit welfare company based in Melbourne, Australia, independence from the government sector has allowed this project effectively to mitigate departmental jurisdictional boundaries, budgetary constraints, varying eligibility criteria, and bureaucratic red tape that could otherwise have impeded its implementation.

Wintringham provides aged care services specifically targeted at elderly homeless men and women (50 years and older). The company currently employs around 350 staff to deliver services to approximately 1,100 clients each night through a range of programs, including residential aged care facilities, rooming houses, independent living units, low- and high-care community support packages, and outreach services. …

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