PITCH-ing independence through quality dementia care at home

NARI has won a major NHMRC grant to develop and test an evidence-based dementia specialist training program for community dementia care.

Known as PITCH, the project aims to directly benefit people with dementia and their carers by up-skilling home-care workers to provide care that promotes independence, improves quality of life and reduces family carers’ burden.

Seventy percent of Australians with dementia live in the community and, of these, 84% are estimated to have a severe or profound disability. The quality of home care they receive directly influences their life quality and ability to remain independent.

“Providing home care is challenging as support workers often work in isolation with little direct supervision, in varied environments, and in sometimes highly stressful situations, therefore needing higher levels of skills and situational adaptability,” Dr Briony Dow said.

The project has three main stages: co-designing; evaluating a training and education program for home care support workers who provide care to people with dementia; and implementing the program as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial with home care providers.

“The program will give home care workers the skills and confidence to deliver high quality, person-centred services, and will be a driver for higher quality home care services in an increasingly consumer driven aged care sector.”

The program’s team includes NARI researchers Associate Professor Dow, Dr Steven Savvas, Dr Sue Malta, and Dr Anita Panayiotou; Honorary NARI Fellows Professor Colleen Doyle, Professor David Ames; Dr Margaret Winbolt (Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing at La Trobe University and Director with Dementia Training Australia), Professor Philip Clarke (Health Economics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne) Dr Claudia Cooper (Old Age Psychiatry, the University College London, UK),  and Professor Gill Livingston (Psychiatry of Older People at the University College London, UK).