Examining the impact of a specialist care homes support team
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Examining the impact of a specialist care homes support team

Donna Doherty Senior lecturer in nursing, Faculty of Health, Staffordshire University, Stafford
Sue Davies Honorary reader, University of Sheffield
Lorraine Woodcock Public health development nurse for older people, North Sheffield Primary Care Trust, South Yorkshire

Aim To examine the work and perceived impact of a dedicated specialist care homes support team.

Method A constructivist methodology was adopted. Data were collected in the form of semi-structured interviews and focus groups with staff, telephone interviews with managers, observation of meetings and teaching sessions, and analysis of documents.

Findings This study was unable to demonstrate statistically the effectiveness of the care homes support team, but the narrative evidence demonstrates the impact the team had during the study. The perceived importance of sharing knowledge and experiences was mentioned repeatedly by participants. The study showed that the care homes support team had made an impact by: empowering participating care home staff; promoting more rapid access to services for care home residents; improved quality of life for residents; promoting changes in organisational and professional culture in the participating homes; and supporting staff in the systematic management of long-term conditions.

Conclusion Initiatives such as a dedicated specialist care homes support team demonstrate the potential for developing new ways of working to provide multiprofessional healthcare services to care homes. Such services could be cost effective, while helping older people to maintain their health, functional ability and quality of life.

Nursing Standard. 23, 5,35-41. doi: 10.7748/ns2008.10.23.5.35.c6678

Correspondence

d.doherty@staffs.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review