Developing a minimum data set for homecare (DACHA-DOM)

The DACHA-DOM study has been funded to explore the potential of a national Minimum Data Set for homecare (also known as domiciliary care). It builds on the research done in care homes by the main DACHA study.

In England, there are over 8000 registered homecare agencies, providing support to almost one million older people in their own homes.  However, we know little about who uses homecare, what sort of care they need, or which other services they access. There is also no systematic approach to sharing data as people access different services. This is a key reason why we know so little about the population of people who use homecare.

Similar to the main DACHA project, key objectives of DACHA-DOM are to:

  • Explore support for, and feasibility of, implementing an MDS for homecare in the UK
  • Design a template (or Minimum Data Set (MDS) for key information about people receiving homecare (e.g. characteristics, needs, outcomes).

An MDS is a defined set of information about a person receiving care that needs to be collected, stored, regularly updated and shared with relevant agencies. It provides an up-to-date source of information on health, care and support needs and how they change over time.  An MDS has a number of uses.  It can be used to support joint-working between the social and health care sector, and be a key source of information for people who plan care and support for older people, including government departments.

An MDS for homecare that shares some characteristics with an MDS for care homes would provide consistency across care settings.  But a homecare MDS would also need to be tailored to the setting and the homecare workforce. The DACHA-DOM extension study has been funded with this in mind.

There are five main strands to this project:

Strand 1 –Scoping review on information collected in home care settings

In home care, information on service users may be collected at different points in time and for a range of different reasons.  Despite the size of the home care sector, no study has reviewed what types of data are collected in homecare, or appraised the design, content, structure or application of systems for collecting data in homecare. We are conducting an international scoping review to understand the different ways ‘homecare’ providers collect information about their clients in different countries, and how such information is stored and used.

Strand 2 – National survey on existing data collection by UK home care organisations in England

Our national survey of homecare providers will, for the first time, investigate the types of information homecare organisations collect, how it is stored and used, and who can access it.  It is also asking homecare providers about their views about contributing to national data set on people who use homecare.

Strand 3 –Consultations about the content, feasibility and acceptability of a minimum data set for home care.

Building on our survey findings, we will use discussion groups and interviews with key stakeholder groups (senior and front-line staff, clients and families, commissioning organisations, national leads) to hear their views about: what information should be contained in a MDS for homecare, the extent to which the DACHA Care Home MDS applies to homecare, and how acceptable and practical would be a MDS for home care.

Home care in England is experiencing unprecedented pressure due to increased demand for services and difficulties with recruitment and retention of staff. To try and understand the factors that might support or hinder the introduction of an MDS into home care, we will use a framework developed by other researchers. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) will help to structure our thinking as we bring together our learning from the different strands in this project.

Strand 4 –Adaptation of Minimum Data Set to the home care setting

The final stage of the work will provide practical recommendations to adapting the Minimum Data Set developed by the DACHA team for use in care homes, to home care settings.

Patient & Public Involvement Engagement:

We have established two project advisory groups with the support of Voice Global: people with personal lived experience of home care, and people with professional experience of home care (as a care worker). We will be meeting with both groups throughout the duration of the project.

The DACHA DOM research team:

The main DACHA-DOM team is comprised of researchers from Newcastle University and the University of York, working with members of the wider DACHA team (comprising seven other universities).

Researchers working on the DACHA-DOM project: Dr. Vanessa Davey, Dr Jennifer Liddle, Professor Barbara Hanratty (Newcastle University); Janice Healey; Dr Gareth O’Rourke; Professor Bryony Beresford (University of York)


Links to other organisations:

We are sharing our ongoing work with the Department of Health and Social Care, and relevant government and NHS programmes. None of these organisations will have any influence on the research content, or our decision to publish what we find.

Further information

Research Partners