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House of Memories is a pioneering project making a real difference to people living with dementia, their carers, families and communities.
In line with the National Dementia Strategy and the Prime Minister’s subsequent Challenge on Dementia 2012, House of Memories was developed by National Museums Liverpool and has now spread UK wide.
It is a training programme which provides skills and knowledge to help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, plus a My House of Memories app, with images, videos and audio to stir memories and stimulate conversations.
HOW WE GOT INVOLVED
The Innovation Agency was a supporter from the outset, collaborating through an Innovate Dementia programme at Liverpool John Moores University‘s Living Lab. Our role has been to help spread the programme across the country.
Funded by the Department of Health and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, this innovative dementia awareness training programme was originally developed for health and social care staff, but was expanded for family carers.
Dementia is a growing challenge. As the population ages and people live for longer, it has become one of the most important health and care issues facing the world. In England it is estimated that around 676,000 people have dementia. In the whole of the UK, the number of people with dementia is estimated at 850,000.
Dementia mainly affects older people, and after the age of 65, the likelihood of developing dementia roughly doubles every five years. However, for some dementia can develop earlier, presenting different issues for the person affected, their carer and their family. There are around 540,000 carers of people with dementia in England. It is estimated that one in three people will care for a person with dementia in their lifetime. Half of them are employed and it’s thought that some 66,000 people have already cut their working hours to care for a family member, while 50,000 people have left work altogether.
There is a considerable economic cost associated with the disease estimated at £23 billion a year, which is predicted to triple by 2040. This is more than the cost of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
The Innovation Agency is a member of the programme’s steering group, overseeing the roll-out along with partner organisations, including Health Education England North West who funded the Tier 2 train the trainer model with North West acute care and community health partners; and academics.
A particular achievement for the Innovation Agency was in introducing House of Memories to stakeholders in Lancashire which led to its adoption as part of the area’s NHS test bed.
“I wholeheartedly support House of Memories because in helping to develop this app it showed myself and my peers that we can still learn and we can still teach, I know that our group is extremely proud to have helped develop this app knowing the great enjoyment it brings to all that use it.” Tommy Dunne, chair of the Liverpool Service Users Reference Forum (SURF) a group made up of people living with dementia and family carers.
As at June 2017, in the three years since the app’s launch there have been 11,437 app downloads in the UK and globally; and 223,460 views of objects in the app.
Museum partners in the North West, North East, Midlands, Greater Manchester and the South East have added digital museum content to the app. At June 2017 11,000 participants had attended training days from the North West, North East, Midlands and the South East.
An analysis of social value and return on investment has been undertaken by the Institute of Cultural Capital and this has found to be £1: £8.66 (up to one year) and £1: £44.68 (up to eight years). This is based on Government and NHS calculations such as the cost of a confidence-building course, value of improved standards of dementia care to an organisation, cost of a one day communication course and cost of a saved GP appointment.
House of Memories is now part of the core business of the museum and in partnership with other museums, universities and health/social care providers the Museum aims to develop the capacity to reach every carer of someone living with dementia.
Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?
Improving patient safety and quality of care Health and well being