Jun 27, 2023

Small household model of care providers form new global alliance

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird (right) is joined by Belong Villages CEO Martin Rix and Green House Project CEO Susan Ryan. [Source: Supplied]

An Australian aged care provider has partnered with two international organisations to promote the benefits of small household living in the hopes it will inspire more providers to adopt the positive model of care.

What you need to know

  • New South Wales-based HammondCare, British care home provider Belong Villages and America’s The Green House Project joined together as founding members of the Household Model International Consortium (HMIC) 
  • The trio recently signed a memorandum of understanding at the Australian High Commission in London
  • They will share research and research opportunities to increase knowledge on the small household model of care, including future possibilities and improvements

The small household model of care isn’t new to Australia; The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified it as the preferred model for residential aged care, with research finding fewer beds meant higher levels of care and improved resident outcomes. The design was also promoted by the Royal Commission as best practice for dementia-friendly aged care.  

HammondCare, a not-for-profit provider specialising in palliative care and dementia support, has benefited from the small household model of care. Mike Baird, HammondCare Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said their experience with the cottage model/small household model of care has led to fewer hospital admissions, lower reliance on medications and a higher quality of life for residents with dementia. 

The Household Model International Consortium together in London, where a memorandum of understanding was signed. [Source: Supplied]

But it’s not just Australian aged care providers that have enjoyed good outcomes from smaller aged care homes. Belong Villages CEO, Martin Rix, said in-depth research helped them uncover the best approach to supporting ageing Brits and what they call ‘household living’ has become the blueprint for their villages. 

“Our experience has really challenged traditional thinking around what is possible to achieve in terms of outcomes and quality of life for older people. The feedback from the healthcare professionals we link with, as well as from 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,” Mr Rix said.

“This familiarity, in turn, provides a sense of security and wellbeing that enables residents to make the most of the wider creative, physical and social opportunities on offer in our care villages.”

While the small household model of care can be found throughout Australia, the consortium’s involvement with The Green House Project (GHP) – pioneers of the practice – provides another foothold for small-scale care down under.

Susan Ryan, CEO of Centre for Innovation/GHP, previously said the expansion into Australia remains one of her proudest accomplishments, and a partnership with ACH Group was just the first of many.

ACH Group is building Australia’s first official residential aged care facility based on the GHP model of care; alongside smaller homes, there is greater autonomy and individuality for residents and staff. In addition, many staff hold dual roles to keep them better involved in the lives of residents, supporting positive relationships. 

But with the Household Model International Consortium officially announced, Ms Ryan said she’s excited to further promote their person-centred approach to aged care, emphasising retained abilities and dignity of risk.

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed the clear advantages of small-home alternatives to traditional eldercare settings, as well as the power of international collaboration. 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,” Ms Ryan said.

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