Supporting the Long-Term Residential Care Needs of Older Homeless People With Severe Alcohol-Related Brain Injury in Australia: The Wicking Project

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Abstract

For years, community service providers have been frustrated with the lack in availability of long-term, specialized supported accommodation for older people, particularly older homeless people, with severe acquired brain injury (ABI) and challenging behaviors. Although the incidence of ABI (particularly alcoholrelated brain injury) is far wider than being confined to the homeless population, it is frequently misdiagnosed and very often misunderstood. Wintringham is an independent welfare company in Melbourne, Australia, that provides secure, affordable, longterm accommodation and high quality services to older homeless people. The high incidence of alcohol abuse among the resident population has led us to adapt our model of care to accommodate a complexity of need. However, there are some individuals with severely affected behaviors that continue to challenge Wintringham's capacity to provide adequate support. The deficiency in highly specialized, long-term supported accommodation for older people with severe alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI) is the driving force behind this project. We aim to further develop and improve the current Wintringham model of residential care to better support people with these complex care needs. We will report on the synthesis of this project, which aims to test a specialized model that can be reproduced or adapted by other service providers to improve the life circumstances of these frequently forgotten people.

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