Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Learning disability and dementia - supporting transition to a care home

Professor Karen Watchman | University of Stirling; Sarudzai Mutebuka
Competition Sponsor: United Kingdom Research and Innovation
Awardee Year: 2023


People with a learning disability are at increased risk of dementia at a younger age, especially individuals with Down’s syndrome. There may be occasions when it is no longer preferred or practical for a person with a learning disability to remain in their home as dementia progresses. In some instances a move to a care home may take place; however, this is often at time of crisis and is unplanned.
Two longstanding problems have become evident: 1) people with a learning disability and dementia are often moved to a care home without being supported to share information about themselves or their wishes for future accommodation needs or preferences and 2) staff in care homes for older people can be hesitant about people with a learning disability and dementia moving in. This is due to uncertainty about how to meet their needs and the perception that the support needed is too great, or too different from other residents.
This project will co-develop, pilot and refine a new resource for people with a learning disability and dementia to understand the personal outcomes that individuals want from their accommodation and support. We will also co-develop and pilot training/information with and for care home staff.
The long-term vision is that care homes throughout the UK welcome older people with a learning disability and dementia into an environment where staff are trained and confident to provide appropriate support. This will be consistent with the outcomes and goals identified by people with a learning disability themselves. It means that a move to a care home, is no longer anxiety provoking, or even a place to be feared due to previous connotations of large institutional-type settings and their role in learning disability history.

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