How the study will be carried out
This is a four-phase study, each phase informs the next. Across all phases of this study, the research team will use a Theory of Change approach to develop a model to identify the key components of the dementia champions role.
- In Phase 1 they will conduct a narrative review identifying existing literature on dementia champions working in health and social care settings in the UK and internationally, alongside a job description analysis to establish what this role currently entails in homecare in England.
- In Phase 2, they will conduct qualitative interviews with staff working as, or alongside dementia champions in varied settings to gather perspectives and feedback on this role in greater depth.
- In Phase 3 they will hold a workshop with relevant stakeholders to co-produce a model of the dementia champions in homecare role.
- They will then use this model in Phase 4 to conduct qualitative interviews in the homecare sector to further refine and evolve the dementia champions role.
Across two advisory groups (a stakeholder group and partnership group), the research team will work with people living with dementia and their family carers, homecare staff (managers and care workers), local authority commissioners and social care leads, Admiral nurses, as well as clinical psychologists, social workers, and organisations including Dementia UK. There is a research involvement lead (who is also a co-applicant) who will ensure meaningful collaboration with these groups.
How patients, carers and the public are involved in the study
The study Partnership Group will include people living with dementia and their family carers/members. This group will be involved in developing interview documents, supporting material preparation for the co-production workshop, analysis and dissemination activities. Three meetings will take place online using Teams or Zoom video calling software and group members will be paid appropriately for their time.
The co-production workshop in Phase 3 will take into account the needs of people living with dementia and their family carers to meaningfully engage in the workshop. This will include splitting into small groups, using visual images in addition to text and scheduling comfort breaks. We will be alert to people’s needs and any indication of fatigue or distress and respond appropriately. A science illustrator will be present to visually scribe what is discussed in the workshop. This will be shared with participants.
Potential benefits of the study
In developing the dementia champions (DCs) in homecare role, the research team will define what the role involves and what is needed to implement, embed, and maintain DCs in the homecare sector. Providing an opportunity for, and upskilling homecare workers to specialise in dementia, could lead to improved staff retention through improved training and status, with more incentive for providers to invest in training for people who intend to make homecare their profession.
Developing the DCs model may provide greater role clarity and peer-support (identified as much-needed components of the job by homecare workers in our previous research). For users of homecare services, the DC role may indirectly contribute to more stable staffing and thereby valued continuity of care.