Almost £1 million has been awarded to Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) to fund a new programme to provide community-based care for frail older people in the Ballymena/Larne and Carrickfergus areas.
Deirdre McCloskey, from MEAAP, is the community sector representative on Antrim / Ballymena Integrated Care Partnership, and through collaboration with a range of partners including ICP colleagues, Dr Ian Kernohan (GP), and Stephen Slaine (pharmacist), and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, a very strong proposal was submitted and successfully awarded funding from the Dunhill Medical Trust in the face of stiff competition from across the UK.
The Dunhill Medical Trust award of £998,145 over three years, will help deliver a wide range of activities, services and support programmes under the IMPACT initiative (Involving Many to Prescribe Alternative Care Together), with around 1,100 people aged 70 years and over due to benefit. The award will also support 13, 200 funded “alternative care prescriptions”.
Deirdre McCloskey, from MEAAP, said: “Over the last three years, our successful core Ageing Well & Reaching Out Programme has given us an insight into the various experiences of older people in terms of meeting their health needs.
“We are now delighted to be in a position to showcase the impact social needs, like access to transport, loneliness and literacy, can have on the health and wellbeing of older people in our community. And to pilot a model that supports our local older people groups to provide alternative care in the community, by the community, in true partnership with healthcare practitioners and commissioners.”
Pharmacist Stephen Slaine, chair of Antrim/Ballymena ICP, explains the initiative.
“The IMPACT programme will establish local health and well-being hubs, consisting of multidisciplinary teams from across a number of community-based healthcare partners including GP practices, community pharmacists, health trust staff and a variety of community and voluntary groups.
“We look forward to working with Dunhill Medical Trust on the evaluation of the IMPACT model, to provide the evidence for an investment in a sustainable model of social prescribing, community based and resourced, meeting the needs of the older people which we serve,” he said.
Dr Ian Kernohan, chair of East Antrim ICP, said the initiative was an excellent example of partnership working.
“Working together to provide community support will have a much greater impact and ensure that older people in our community are able to focus on improving their health and wellbeing,” he said.
Representing the Northern Local Commissioning Group, Bride Harkin said: “We are delighted to be a partner in this initiative and welcome the substantial funding from Dunhill Medical Trust. This will ensure the collaborative approach with the local community continues and will enable more older people living at home to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Dunhill Medical Trust is a charity which supports innovation in the care of older people and research into the causes and treatments of disease, disability and frailty related to ageing.
The Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAPP) is a local inter-agency based partnership aimed at improving the lives of older people aged 60 years and over in the Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus areas.
Watch this video to find out more about the IMPACT initiative.