Introduction to innovative community-based models in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a rapidly ageing population and growing demand for care. Both policymakers and practitioners have recognised that reforming the adult social care system is critical to ensuring the strain on primary and secondary health services does not become unsustainable. However, the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly in early 2017 has prevented the implementation of an ambitious reform programme led by the Department of Health.

Several community-based care and support models have developed locally in recent years, and offer hope and choice to older people and their families in the absence of political momentum. This Highlights briefing aims to contribute to discussion and debate around scaling up promising third sector innovation and good practice in the adult social care sector in Northern Ireland by exploring some of these models in more detail.

In this briefing, we describe five promising models of person-centred care and support that we believe have the potential to grow. We also describe some of the changes we feel will help in supporting the growth of these kinds of care and support models. Finally, we provide links to useful resources, including the Social Care Innovation Network which we are running in England exploring how we scale innovative models of care and support.

Community-based care and support models are essential in putting power into the hands of people and creating the dynamic that will drive innovation. But to succeed they need acknowledgement, support and encouragement.

John Kennedy, member of Expert Advisory Panel for ‘Power to the People: proposals to reboot adult care and support in NI’

Community-based models (SCIE Highlights No 6)
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