IMPACT UK Demonstrator Report

IMPACT is the UK centre for implementing evidence in adult social care. Working across the four nations and with co-production at its heart, we draw on insights from research, lived experience, and practice knowledge to make a difference to front-line services, and to people’s lives.

This year IMPACTAgewell worked with IMPACT UK to become the first Demonstrator site in the UK. Check out the findings below.

Project Background

An asset (or strengths) based approach is a generic term which describes a fundamental shift in the design and delivery of health and social care services. Rather than focusing on the challenges which people face and how professionals and care services can address these challenges, an asset-based approach starts with what is important to the individual and explores the personal, family and community resources available to achieve their desired outcomes.

Formal services look to complement but not replace or duplicate these informal resources. Professional opinion is considered alongside (but not above) the person’s own view of their challenges and opportunities. Common asset-based approaches used within social care and health in the UK include – community navigation, social prescribing, link workers, local area co-ordination, and community development. Whilst there are some differences between these, they are based on the same principles.

The rationale for asset-based approaches have been endorsed by governments across the UK. Embedding these in practice has though proven to be extremely challenging. This Demonstrator project worked with an existing asset-based community development project based in Mid and East Antrim to better understand what has enabled them to achieve positive outcomes, identify how their approach could be further improved, and what other communities can learn from their experiences.

Within the project, IMPACTAgewell® Officers meet older people in their own homes to learn what matters to them and discuss options to improve their social situation and health conditions. Where appropriate and with their agreement, the older person is introduced to community groups providing relevant support and networks. When a community group engages with an older person, they are provided a fee to help cover their costs. Older people are referred into IMPACTAgewell from GPs, social workers, community pharmacies and community organisations. Locality Hub meetings bring together these professionals with the link workers to share information and learn lessons relating to individual older people and needs of the population in their area.

This report provides insights from the IMPACT Demonstrator project on how asset-based principles can be implemented and sustained.