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Care home being redeveloped into centre of excellence for dementia care

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

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A RESIDENTIAL care home in Newton Abbot is being redeveloped into a multi-million-pound new centre of excellence for dementia care.

Mapleton is one of three homes to be transformed into a state-of-the-art dementia care home as part of a £11.2million programme by Devon County Council.

Mapleton, Davey Court in Exmouth and Woodland Vale in Torrington are the first of 10 council care homes to be redeveloped in the first phase of the 'groundbreaking' programme.

The redevelopment of the homes, currently providing residential care for older people with dementia, have been welcomed.

Cllr Stuart Barker, the council's cabinet member for adult care, said: "The centres of excellence will provide high quality homes for people with dementia, but will also provide so much more than that.

"They will also include a range of other services to support people with dementia and their carers, who may still be living within their local community.

"They'll be designed to include the latest technology, which will enable people with dementia to live safely, and as independently as possible, within their own surroundings."

Over the next three years, up to 10 of the council's 23 residential care homes will be transformed into modern dementia-specific residential and non-residential facilities.

Market research, identifying where demand for dementia care in Devon is highest and where appropriate care services already exist in the private sector, has informed the council's choice of phase one locations.

Further phases will be announced at a later date.

The council has told residents in the three homes and their families and carers.

Cllr Barker said: "Our priority first and foremost is our residents' wellbeing. All residents in these homes have dementia and therefore we are extremely sensitive to their needs.

"We'll be doing everything we can to minimise their anxiety, and that of their families or carers, because we understand the impact that change can have.

"We will not be asking people to move from the home while the work is ongoing, and once the centres are complete, our current residents will be able to carry on living there."

Plans for the three homes are being worked on and the council is hoping to share these with residents, their families and neighbours before they are put forward for planning permission.

The remodelling is expected to include larger bedrooms, with some en-suite and communal areas for outreach support.

County councillor and current Newton Abbot mayor Cllr Anne Fry said: "With the expected rise in the number of people with dementia, the new proposals for Mapleton are very welcome.

"Mapleton has a long record of providing excellent care.

"I am sure that same level of care will be continued through outreach support to benefit even more people In the wider community."

Devon has one of the highest proportions of older people among its population, with the number of over 65s with dementia expected to rise from nearly 13,000 in 2011 to over 23,000 by 2030 — a rise of almost 80 per cent.

Current research suggests Devon has a shortfall in specialist residential places for people with dementia and the council's plans, which will create overall around 300, will meet about half that unmet need.

The Council is making £800,000 a year available to private sector care providers to help them develop their dementia-specific care and it hopes the private sector can also help meet the need for specialist care.

The University of Stirling has described the Council's plans as 'groundbreaking'.

They and Midas Construction became partners with the Council earlier this year after competitive tendering.

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