Picker* and the Dunhill Medical Trust are collaborating on scoping the latest strand of Dunhill’s Older People’s Care Improvement Initiative, which will focus on understanding whether there is a link between education and training for medical and health professionals and older people’s care quality and health outcomes in the UK.

When the 2013 Francis Report outlined the failings in the care of vulnerable adults, the Dunhill Medical Trust undertook to carry out a body of work that committed to improving older people’s care through a number of targeted work streams.

Picker has been commissioned to carry out research to support this latest workstream because the evidence linking standards and methods of education and training and care quality is currently unclear. The research will help the Dunhill Medical Trust to understand the current educational landscape, its latest developments and whether there might be certain groups of people delivering care to older people who may benefit from enhanced education and training, and what this might involve, with a view to working with a range of interested organisations to develop practical interventions.

Professor Rod Hay, former trustee and special advisor to the Dunhill Medical Trust, who has been the Trust’s champion for this piece of work said “There are a number of complicated issues at play with regard to caring for older people which were outlined in the Francis Report.  These are exacerbated by the time and financial constraints experienced by medical professionals and social workers, but also crucially by differing recruitment practices, training standards and requirements for these staff.”

Understanding whether education, training and ongoing professional development is impacting patient experience is vitally important, as is understanding the role that workplace culture and staff engagement plays in older people’s care.

A Public and Patient advisory group has been recruited to allow older people to contribute their knowledge and care experiences to the research, which can lead to a greater understanding of the issues being explored and to prioritise the findings.

The research will comprise of both a systematic review and stakeholder engagement activities in order to understand existing evidence on how education and training relates to older people’s care quality.

The final report will include the results from interviewing staff, highlighting any deficiencies in education and training, and recommending whether particular staff groups or specialties might benefit the most from any additional or extended training initiatives.

Sarah-Ann Burger, a Senior Research Associate at Picker, commented “We’re delighted to be working with the team at the Dunhill Medical Trust on this important topic. Picker is internationally renowned for championing a person-centred approach to health care, and so we are a great fit for this research. By systematically examining the training and education landscape as well as exploring how well medical and health professionals think the education and training they receive is equipping them to deal with the increasingly complex needs of an ageing population, we aim to produce rigorous and meaningful insight to this area.”

The final report is expected to be published in late Spring 2018.  For more information contact Communications Manager at Picker, Helen Thorne, on helen.thorne@PickerEurope.ac.uk or Susan Kay, Executive Director, Dunhill Medical Trust on susan.kay@dunhillmedical.org.uk.

*Picker is a leading international charity in the field of person centred care. It has a history of supporting those working across health and social care systems measuring patient experience to drive quality improvement in healthcare.