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Operational issues can influence the success of community-based daycare for older adults

Bulsara C, Etherton-Beer C, Saunders R.  Models for community based day care for older people: A narrative review  Cogent Social Sciences. December 2016; 2: 1-11.

Review question

What approaches to community-based daycare are implemented for older adults in Australia? What are the most effective programs in catering to the needs of older community-dwelling adults?

Background

As the aging population increases, the number of older adults in Australia who are mobile and still live independent of clinical care has also increased. As a result, older adults are living in their homes in the community for longer periods of time.

Living in your own home promotes independence. However, independent living can involve costs, can constitute an additional burden on family caregivers, and can increase the risk of social isolation. Community-based daycare in Australia provides a solution to this problem by offering functional independence and community engagement.

This systematic review aims to provide a review of the benefits and drawbacks of existing community-based daycare approaches that aim to improve the quality of life of older adults in Australia.

How the review was done

A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 1989 to 2015 was conducted. Studies that focused on community-care centres, older adults and well-being were included in the review.

A number of documents were included in the systematic review and covered the following topics: best practice/quality standards in centre-based daycare for older adults; different models of service/care; older adults’ needs and preferences with respect to community-based support; and specific programs and activities provided to older adults in the community.

The authors did not acknowledge any funding sources for this review.

What the researchers found

The two approaches of community-based daycare identified were the person-centred care approach, which involves the unique qualities and personal preferences of the individual, and the active service and wellness model, which involves functional independence, quality of life and social participation. The studies included in the review revealed that although there was a varying degree of evidence of effectiveness of these two models, operational issues such as adequate staff, accessible and responsive opening times, and adequate means of transportation to the service influenced the success of the daycare programs.

An additional approach for community-based daycare was also identified as relationship-centred, which included a focus on positive relationships surrounding the older adult. Studies showed that positive relationships can improve individual autonomy for the elderly.

Conclusion

The studies included in the review identified the key approaches to community-based daycare, which provide the independence and social engagement for adults as they age. In executing such approaches and models, a focus on effective communication and collaboration was recommended. Flexibility in the provision of services to older adults was highlighted as a topic requiring further investigation.




Glossary

Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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