AIM: To explore the experiences of residents, families and staff in the establishment of a new small-scale home model of care for people living with dementia.
BACKGROUND: New and innovative small-scale models of care have the potential to improve outcomes for older people, especially those with dementia, who experience high rates of cognitive impairment in traditional residential aged care homes in Australia.
DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive study.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 14 guests, family and staff of a new small-scale dementia home named 'Kambera House' in the Australian Capital Territory were conducted between July 2021 when the home opened and August 2022. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and reported according to the COREQ guidelines.
RESULTS: Two guests with mild-to-moderate dementia, five family and seven staff members participated in the study. The data revealed high satisfaction with Kambera House, generating five themes. Falls detection technology in the home provided a sense of safety, enabling more time for person-centred care. Free, everyday technology connected the home with families as part of an overall community of care where staff were empowered to maximize choice and dignity of risk of guests living in the home. This contributed to the sense of community, rather than an institution, where the conditions of work supported the conditions of care, and were embedded in a culture of responsiveness, change and flexibility.
CONCLUSION: Kambera House represents a successful example of a new small-scale dementia home. Technology played an important background role in improving overall safety and flexibility as part of a model of care which demonstrated positive experiences for guests and families by being responsive to their individual needs.
IMPACTS: Small-scale homes for people with dementia offer an alternative model that may provide more individualized, person-centred care compared with the traditional institutionalized care.
PATIENT OR PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION: No patient or public contribution.