Asset-based approaches in 2022

We asked Robin Miller, IMPACT Demonstrators Lead, and Sarah McLoughlin, our Strategic Improvement Coach, to reflect on 2022 and the Demonstrator project so far. Our Demonstrator is taking place in Northern Ireland, and is looking at ‘asset-based approaches’, and how older people can have a better life via health and social services working in new ways with them, the community, and the voluntary sector.

What have been your wins/highlights of 2022?

The potential value that can be generated through IMPACT partnering with an innovative local area to learn from their experiences and support them to build on their strengths. Mid & East Antrim has been a great place for the Demonstrator model to be piloted due to MEAAP’s established networks with older people and with policy and practice partners. Our World Café stakeholder event was an excellent reflection of this – 50 people with lived experience and/or professionals coming together to discuss, debate and design.

How have your aspirations for the project/IMPACT changed?

The overall aspirations for the project – understanding how to engage all of the relevant stakeholders in a local area with innovation, identifying what the important elements of an asset-based approach in primary and social care – remain the same. Through the gathering of lived, practice and research evidence the opportunities to support improvement have become clearer though, for example in relation to responding to the different expectations of diverse communities and demonstrating to professionals how the approach can save them time as well as benefit older people and their families.

What have you learned so far?

When planning future Demonstrators, it will be important that there is a good level of commitment from across the social and health care system, and a local organisation who is well connected and willing to lead on the process in this area.

There are relatively few people with all the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake a strategic improvement role in social care – therefore part of the role of IMPACT needs to be on workforce development and building a cadre of people with these skills.

What are your hopes for next year?

Apart from the very practical hope that our second Improvement Coach is appointed, we want to take forward the actions that are set out in the theory of change regarding increasing the spread and further strengthening the depth of this asset-based approach. We would also hope for policy makers in Northern Ireland to learn from our experience in Mid and East Antrim as they develop the integrated care system.

What’s unique about your ‘asset-based approaches’ project?

The strength of connection with older people in the local area, the high level of commitment from stakeholders, and the capacity building activities with the voluntary and community sector.

Any highlights, stories, or surprises you’d like to share?

The World Café event we ran in November, and feedback from older people and wider stakeholders is a great example of the project’s impact to date.

Find out more about the Demonstrator project.