By Professor David Clark
Is it possible to imagine a learning campus, like Crichton, which also has an added dimension – intergenerational living with an emphasis on meeting the care needs of people at different stages of life? Could it have a particular focus on the housing and care needs of older people who seek an enriching mode of living that brings support, wellbeing, community and a measure of security against risk?
These were some of the questions in my mind at the end of 2014 when I set to thinking about what could happen at Crichton when the existing hospital is vacated. The hospital site is adjacent to the Crichton estate. One option would be to build new houses there, but could that idea be extended to something more visionary, more related to our wider needs as a region and something that would constitute a radical and potentially game-changing approach to issues of housing, care and later life?
A vision and a practical reality
Thinking in this way suggests a ‘win-win’ where those in need of housing with care can live together in an environment that provides a wonderful physical amenity, opportunities for continued learning, exercise and interaction – and which at the same time could be a place where students, academics and those living there could share in a vision and a very practical collaboration
The idea of the Crichton Care Campus was first outlined in a paper I wrote at the end of 2014. In March of this year I sketched it out further in a post on my research blog – http://endoflifestudies.academicblogs.co.uk/some-ideas-for-a-care-campus-by-david-clark/
Since then it has found favour with a number of local groups, with interested individuals from far and wide and from journalists – http://endoflifestudies.academicblogs.co.uk/spinal-column-article-by-melanie-reid/
On 27 April, Sam Cassalls of Scottish Futures Trust facilitated a workshop at Crichton bringing together academics with colleagues from the health service, local authority and related agencies. There was a good discussion about the Care Campus. A key idea that emerged was that it should be thought of as something that could include the whole site, and not simply that of the existing hospital. The potential to take the Crichton to a new level of innovation and development seemed very high indeed.
At the moment however, the idea remains skeletal. It needs work to test out possibilities, assumptions and opportunities. The academic groups at Crichton, under the umbrella of the Crichton Institute, are keen to play their part in this.
A research workshop
Derek Goldman, of OU Scotland and a member of the Crichton Institute executive group and Sandy Fraser, Associate Dean (curriculum and qualifications) from the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the OU are now planning a workshop for early July in which researchers on Campus will meet to explore some of the key questions and possibilities that the Care Campus may stimulate. There is a good deal of evidence to be garnered. Some early issues include:
- What do we know about the demographics, patterns of housing tenure and likely ‘need’ for the kind of facilities envisaged at the Care Campus?
- Are there ways to gauge the likely ‘demand’ – who might want to live there and at what sort of scale?
- How could we generate knowledge and intelligence about the kind of Care Campus that would be attractive and which would make people want to live there, and with what facilities and amenities?
- What sort of business model would need to be developed for the concept?
- What measureable benefits might flow from such an innovation?
- Is there evidence from similar models in operation elsewhere?
It is clear from the list that the proposals about the Crichton Care Campus suggest an extensive research agenda that could both inform and support the process of development and implementation. We are agreed that Crichton Institute has a key role to play in this and should be the hub of research and related activity about the Care Campus.
So look out on this blog for further reports as the idea progresses – and do get in touch if you have suggestions, ideas, skills or resources to contribute.
Professor David Clark