Housing and palliative care – developing the connection

David Clark, Wellcome Trust Investigator, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK, explains the background to a longer article published in the September/October issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care.

Professor David Clark

In ageing populations where the ‘dependency ratio’ puts increasing strain on our ability to meet the health and social care needs that exist in local communities, it is increasingly important that we look for novel approaches to the problems we face. One idea I have been exploring recently is to strengthen the links between housing issues, compassionate communities, and the provision of palliative care.

I started thinking about this a few years ago in relation to the place where I work. The Crichton Campus is on the edge of the town of Dumfries in rural South West Scotland. It is home to a number of academic, non-profit and business organisations. A landscaped site, with listed buildings, beautiful trees and open spaces, it began life as a psychiatric hospital in the first half of the nineteenth century. It has a hotel, conference and entertainment facilities, a pool and spa, a bistro, café and a non-denominational church. It has become a place of learning, teaching and enterprise as well as somewhere for leisure and relaxation, and it is seen as a key driver of the local economy. Could it now find an additional purpose as a place for older people to live, secure in the knowledge they might stay there, even if their care needs were to escalate?

Developing the ‘Care Campus’

The idea of a ‘Care Campus’ at the Crichton, where there is significant land to accommodate it, is focussed on adopting new approaches to ageing. It seeks to test out ways of providing housing for older people as well as social and community support with access to care – all combined with innovation in education, skills development and research. Part of its attraction is as a possible model for similar settings elsewhere.

Our evolving vision imagines a community of people accommodated on environmentally sensitive and sustainable lines where residents create an intentional community that is part of the life of the immediate Campus and the wider region. It will be a place providing for a full spectrum of needs – from completely independent ‘retirement’ living, through sheltered accommodation, to long-term and end-of-life care facilities. It will comprise housing to the highest design standards, developed in consultation with those who live there. It will involve residents in the co-production of wellbeing, educational and research activities along with academic partners, as well as to stimulate new knowledge, innovation and replicability, and create opportunities for cross-generational activity through student volunteering, internships, project work and high-quality employment for motivated and committed staff.

In the European Journal of Palliative Care article written with my colleague Dr Sandy Whitelaw, we have sketched the context and details of our proposition. Our next step is to test it out in full through a ‘proof of concept’ project that begins in early 2018. To do this, we are drawing on ideas and inspiration from around the world, and so we welcome contact from anyone engaged in similar pursuits. If you’d like to contribute ideas please contact me at the links below.

Read the full article in the European Journal of Palliative Care

This post relates to ‘Living well, dying well – the importance of housing’ by David Clark and Sandy Whitelaw that is published in the September/October 2017 edition of the European Journal of Palliative Care (EJPC, (vol. 24 (5), pp.199-202. (Follow the links to Browse the Archive/2017/September/October).

If you have a web-based subscription to the journal you’ll be able to download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription. Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the journal – click here to subscribe online.

Thanks to an agreement with Hayward Medical Communications, our article can now be read on open access at: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/149370/7/149370.pdf


Read more posts relating to articles published in the European Journal of Palliative Care on the EAPC Blog.

This entry was posted in EAPC-LINKED JOURNALS, European Journal of Palliative Care and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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