Evaluation of the Community Outreach Dementia Project Leitrim

This report presents the findings of an evaluation of the Community Outreach Dementia Project (CODPL) in Leitrim, a rural country in Ireland with a relatively high population of older people. This project is one of five projects funded under the HSE & Genio Dementia Programme to develop and test innovative individualised supports for people at an advanced stage of dementia. Through designing and providing flexible and responsive supports, the project’s aim was to enable individuals with dementia presenting with complex needs to remain in their own homes longer and prevent unnecessary hospitalisation. The project also provided carer respite, educational programmes for staff and made assistive technology available. A comprehensive evaluation of the project was undertaken, underpinned by the RE-AIM framework and using mixed methods. A key finding of the evaluation was that more personalised supports could be provided when the person with dementia and their family carer were recognised and assessed as a unit of care. Families’ experiences of the CODPL supports were very positive. They found the supports provided by the project to be of good quality and valued the flexibility of service delivery and the relief it gave them. The uptake of assistive technology was lower than anticipated, indicating the limited application of such technology for people with advanced dementia. The education programmes developed by the project complemented existing programmes and were positively evaluated by participants. The evaluation found that people with advanced dementia could be supported to remain at home for an average cost to the HSE of €504 per week, and concluded that this was a good use of resources since the vast majority, the costs were lower than the costs of long-stay residential care.