The Dunhill Medical Trust’s research strategy focuses on the needs of older people within the UK and those with age-related diseases, or with disabilities, or requiring rehabilitation as a result of ageing. Recently, the Trust has launched a new strategic programme aimed at improving the health and social care for older people, following the findings of the 2013 Francis Report into the failings at the Mid Staffordshire NS Foundation Trust.

The programme, which is being launched on an incremental basis over a three to four year period, will commit £3m to £4m to making a real difference to the lives of older people.

Older People’s Care Improvement Initiative

The initiative consists of four strands, beginning with a round of Research Training Fellowships awarded in 2014 which focus on improved safety, effectiveness and satisfaction of care for older people and a recently completed call for proposals to develop and assess an innovative, large scale intervention aimed at improving the care of the frailest older people in society.

This second call has resulted in a grant of £674,061 being awarded to Dr Adam Gordon et al at the University of Nottingham, to support the Proactive Health Care of Older People in Care Homes (PEACH) study.

What will the PEACH study deliver?

The study will help the local NHS and care home community to develop a Quality Improvement (QI) programme to deliver consistent, high quality and proactive healthcare for residents. To do this, it will:

  • document what care is delivered to each resident
  • measure its effects on quality of life
  • record how often residents use the NHS.
  • assess the cost of healthcare and weigh this against benefits gained

In addition, the research aims to describe how other regions could do similar work within existing resources, to help the NHS realise the benefits of providing timely and person-centred care for care home residents on a proactive basis.

The PEACH team is led by researchers at the University of Nottingham, but is a collaboration between several universities, NHS Trusts and local care homes and includes a wide range of multidisciplinary academic and clinical skills, as well as care home managers and lay representatives.

What else is planned?

The Dunhill Medical Trust will launch its third call for proposals in autumn of this year and will invest up to £1m in creating a bottom-up, needs based approach to care, involving all the health resources in a local area, to support the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable older people. Through this, the charity hopes to achieve a change in public sector provision that will provide a human framework as well as technical excellence to ensure that  adequate time is allowed in providing care and interacting with the older person on a personal basis.

Lastly, in 2017 The Trust will explore launching educational improvement awards for university courses that build on best practice in dealing with older people and those with special needs in order to ensure their dignity can be maintained and that they receive a high standard of care.

What does DMT aim to achieve?

In making a substantial investment in this initiative, DMT aims to achieve a demonstrable (and translatable) improvement in care provided for older people whereby all parts of the system work together to maximise the resources available whilst ensuring that those cared for are treated with kindness, adequate time and with regard for their dignity.