Why is consultation necessary?

Consultation with experts will be carried out throughout the DACHA project. The consultation events aim to ensure that the resources produced by the research team are thoroughly discussed by experts before a prototype of a Minimum Data Set (MDS) is created.

In the UK, there is currently no uniform version of an MDS that is mandated by the state, which is the case in North America. From the North American examples, we know that an MDS is a set of questions that are filled in by care home staff about care home residents. With an MDS, care home staff routinely answer the same standardised questions about residents at regular intervals, or when the resident’s health status changes. Given the right infrastructure, any information on MDS can be automatically shared with hospitals, GPs, ambulatory services, community nurses, family members etc. and can create better links between health and social care professionals for the benefit of the resident.

Consultation events will inform the planning of different work packages (mini-projects) that form DACHA. The DACHA study is made up of five work packages. With the help of the discussions with experts at these events, the DACHA team will develop an agreement on the essentials of a minimum data set, which will be put into action as a pilot project during the final work package. Based on the collaboration between consultation group representatives and DACHA researchers, some recommendations will be produced for organisations who deal with and rely on the information captured in care homes. These recommendations will cover, for example, how care homes can use the minimum data set, what tools and equipment are needed and where to find further advice’?

Timeline and Content of Events

Across England, up to 50 experts – commissioners of health and social care, primary care professionals, directors of care quality, care home staff and managers, geriatricians, old age psychiatrists, and researchers with the knowledge of minimum data sets – will be invited to join a national expert group and will meet at three points during the lifetime of the project. Discussions are usually more detailed between people who have experiences in common. The opinions and suggestions coming from these experts are of great relevance because they are the potential users if an MDS system were to be put in place in the UK. The experts will be divided into 5 groups based on their professional roles and experiences (each group with 8 representatives). These 5 groups will meet twice in separate meetings, and once all together. This means that there will be 10+ consultation events held between 2021 and 2023. DACHA may expand its remit to include up to 4 more consultation groups in Wales. If there is sufficient interest, more expert groups may be formed in the other devolved countries, namely Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In the first consultation events, the representatives will be asked to comment on the relevance of the outcomes from the early work packages of DACHA. Experts will debate whether the outcomes identified in international care home research are relevant to a minimum data set for the UK. The second round of consultation events will help to resolve such questions as: What to regularly measure in a care home, how to capture it, how to securely and appropriately share it, and with whom. Findings will then feed into Work Package 5, which will test the use of an MDS prototype. In the final consultation event, the findings will be presented and followed by group discussions about the implications and recommendations. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the first consultation meetings (2021) will be virtual; it is probable that the second round of events (2022) will be held online too. If circumstances permit, the final consultation event will be held in London in early 2023, bringing together all participants from the previous consultation events.

Stakeholders in each group are:

  • Care Quality Commission experts and commissioners, Local Authority and health and social care commissioners

  • Care home managers, and directors of quality

  • Primary care team (GPs, community psychiatric nurses, geriatricians, community nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, etc.)

  • Care home staff at senior and junior carer grade

  • Geriatricians and old age psychiatrists with explicit interest in MDS and researchers with prior knowledge of MDS implementation.

Research Partners