Midas Construction & University of Stirling to develop centres of excellence for people with dementia
Midas Construction and the University of Stirling, experts in dementia research, have been appointed by Devon County Council to design and deliver an ambitious £11.2 million improvement programme to develop dementia care centres of excellence across Devon.
Councillor Stuart Barker, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care said: “We’re delighted to be working with an excellent team that has an extensive range of experience in design and construction of homes for people with dementia and also the leading University to advise us on the best standard for state of the art dementia friendly buildings.
“Our intention is for the centres of excellence to be more than just residential care homes. We would want them to include other non-residential services for people with dementia and their carers, who are still living in their own homes. We want the centres to become the local hubs of dementia friendly communities.
“While many people want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, evidence shows that for people with advanced dementia-related care needs, specialist accomodation can provide more suitable, safe environments for people to live.”
Over the next three years, up to 10 of the Council’s 23 residential care homes will be transformed into modern, state of the art residential and non residential facilities for people with dementia and their carers.
The improvement programme will also include modernisation and refurbishment of the Council’s other homes.
Devon-based Midas has significant experience in construction and design of buildings used by older people and people with dementia, while the University of Stirling is nationally recognised for setting the standard for dementia-friendly buildings.
Both fought off other bidders in a full and thorough procurement process, undertaken through the County Council’s Construction Framework South West.
Devon has one of the highest proportions in the country of older people among its population, with the number of over 65 year olds with dementia expected to rise from nearly 13,000 in 2011 to over 23,000 by 2030 – a rise of almost 80 per cent.
The county currently has a shortfall of specialist residential care for people with dementia, and the Council’s plans, which will create around 300 specialist places, will meet about half the unmet need, with private sector care home owners asked to help meet the remaining demand.
Redevelopment will involve substantial remodelling of the Council’s homes. Bedrooms, for example, will need to be made larger, with some having ensuite facilities. They will be completely redecorated, with new carpets, furnishings and have better lighting.
Remaining homes will also undergo refurbishment, including redecoration, carpet replacement and upgrading of furniture and equipment.
A study is underway, looking at where the bulk of the demand for specialist dementia care is in Devon and at the level of private sector care home provision in those areas. This will be completed before the Council decides which of its homes are to become centres of excellence because they do not want to compete in areas where there is more than enough private sector provosion.
Meanwhile the County Council has made £800,000 available each year for care home owners to develop their businesses so that they can help meet the need for specialist care. Amongst other options this will enable the private sector to re-train employees to change the type of care they offer.
Professor June Andrews, director of Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre, said: “Through our research we know a lot about how to make a good dementia care home these days, but it still is hard to persuade some providers to make a real effort to do the right thing.
“That is why this project covering so many homes all over Devon is really groundbreaking.
“This work will provide a model of good practice that should be followed across England and beyond.
“We need to make things better for people with dementia.”
Mike O’Neill, Divisional Director for Midas Construction said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Devon County Council as a partner to deliver this exciting programme.
“As a local contractor it is our policy to source materials and labour as locally as possible so that we can bring financial benefit to the local economy. In addition local training and employment opportunities will be created.”
Before any work begins, the Council will ensure that all residents, their families, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders are kept fully informed and have opportunity to contribute to discussions about the work.
Cllr Barker has been leading the need for more investment in care services and in response to the new contractors he said “There’s a lot to be done before we reach the point of starting the developments, but anything we need to do or will be required by the project will be done in an orderly, managed and phased way so that disruption within homes is kept to a minimum,”