The Hammersmith Ibasho-Hub project is a proposal for a new form of dementia care on the banks on the Thames, opposite the WWT Wetland Centre. Its programme was established by collating research from across Europe, which suggests that the ‘Hub-and-spoke’ model currently being trialled in the Netherlands and Switzerland represented the most sustainable and appealing care option, drawing upon local resources in such a way to encourage people both looking to support or, indeed, enter the home. However, as a live-in option, it required significant infrastructure and construction and once max capacity was reached, there was little anyone could do for those less fortunate to obtain a place. The Japanese ‘lbasho’ schemes – translating roughly to; ‘place of normalcy visited at leisure’ – however, provided care in the form of a hub, which people visited but did not live in. Those with dementia were also encouraged to visit independently, enabled by a ‘hub network’ that watched out for – and in some cases electronically tracked – those who got lost. This had the advantage of serving a much larger population with less construction.
London’s current solution to dementia prevalence has been to build ever larger care homes, but, as research suggests, a model combining the lbasho and Hub-and-spoke model might be the most feasible and indeed appropriate for the future dementia population. In a survey conducted with Care Quality Commission, Hammersmith in North West London was identified as the most appropriate location for a new lbasho-hub scheme. Amongst a range of factors contributing to the site’s selection, its location at the end of a tube line meant that those with dementia would not have to remember when to get off while the adjacent Thames River Walk provided the longest unbroken pedestrian route in London, allowing those walking to and from the lbasho-hub to largely avoid the complications of intersections, traffic, multiple roads etc. Nestled between the River Thames, across from which is located the WWT Wetland Nature Reserve, and a primary school (which, as a listed building provides a secure anchor point for those with dementia), the lbasho-hub also offers a range of contextual adaptations to support visitors coming to and from. In particular, minor adaptations to the street scape along the main route from the station support visitors to retain their independence as far as possible, in line with the hub’s approach to dementia care .