Objective: To evaluate a model of intensive case management for people with dementia based in a community-based mental health service for older people.
Method: Quasi-experimental design. Individuals in one community team setting received case management and were compared with those in a similar team without such a service. Fortythree matched pairs were identified. Eligible older people and their carers were interviewed at uptake and again at 6 and 12 months.
Results: The impact of the scheme upon placement occurred in the second year at the end of which 51% of the experimental group remained at home compared with 33% of the comparison group. For the experimental group significant improvements in the social contacts of older people were noted; a decrease in the stress of their carers was observed, together with a reduction in their input to the care of the client; and there were significant improvements on ratings of overall need reduction, aspects of daily living and level of risk. Differences between the two groups based on service receipt showed higher costs for the experimental group.
Discussion: The benefits to older people and their carers confirms previous findings that the most effective case management interventions are those targeted on a highly specific client group. Issues which influence the cost-effectiveness of intensive case management are discussed. The benefits of locating this service within a specialist mental health team are explored in the context of current initiatives to promote greater service integration between health and social services. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.