ENRICHEnabling Research in Care Homes
New NIHR study aiming to enhance care home residents’ quality of life launched
NIHR-funded researchers have launched a new four-year study aiming to enhance how researchers and health and social care services can use existing data to improve the care and quality of life for care home residents, families and staff.
The £2.2million DACHA study (Developing research resources and minimum data set for care homes’ adoption and use) is led by the University of Hertfordshire.
Researchers will address the need to develop robust systems that support how all the different services and individuals – such as care staff, NHS professionals, family, regulators, and social services – work together for residents’ benefit.
The study team will review how current health and social care systems work and explore the evidence on how to integrate data and test what a minimum dataset would need to be the key resource for all those working in and for care homes.
Researchers say the findings have the potential to deliver a step-change in how we understand the needs of the care home population. This could be a resource that supports the provision of high quality care across the country, they add.
Claire Goodman, Professor of Health Care Research, NIHR Senior Investigator at the University of Hertfordshire, who is leading the study, said: “We rely on care homes to provide care and support to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Care homes are valued partners to the NHS providing almost all our long-term care for frail older people. A more consistent approach is needed to support integrated working and ensure that planning for future needs of residents is based on the best evidence. By bringing together existing data systems, creating a minimum data set and further researching care home residents’ needs, we can make recommendations likely to improve residents’ quality of life.”
She added: “Long-term continuing care for older people is principally provided by care homes, with approximately 420,000 people in England and Wales living in a care home. Residents and staff rely on the NHS for medical care and the role of social care is gaining recognition as an essential part of care provision for this ageing population. This underlines the need to develop reciprocal systems of working between the NHS and care homes. Our aim is to create new ways of working and doing research in and with care homes, so that the outputs benefit not only the researchers, but also the residents.”
The study is funded by the NIHR’s Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme and is supported by NIHR ARC South West Peninsula.
More information on the study is available on the NIHR Funding Awards website.