In April 2022, a total, 42 Dementia Care Co-ordinator (DCC) roles, across Kent and Medway, were created and funded by the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board for each of the Primary Care Networks in the region. This role helps people living with dementia and their carers to better navigate the care system from pre to post diagnosis.
To help evaluate this service, researchers from the University of Surrey are currently conducting a realist evaluation to explore what works, for who, why and under what circumstances.
Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), the interim findings, from the research analysis that looked at staffing and key performance indicators, as well as responses to an initial questionnaire, have just been released.
Interim findings demonstrate that DCCs enjoy being people-focussed in their approach and value being empathetic, well-organised and effective. This may facilitate their ability to make a difference, provide individualised support, advocate for service users, and achieve job satisfaction. The results also show how DCCs work to high standards, in a joined-up way, with embedded knowledge and networks.
However, the findings also show how, in order to make sure that this service is sustainable in the long-term, more needs to be done to enhance the support of the workforce, through for example formal, recognised training and effective caseload management.
Leading the research, Dr Ruth Abrams, Lecturer at the University of Surrey, said:
"Reporting these interim findings provides an opportunity to acknowledge the experiences of DCCs to date, despite being a relatively new service. DCCs have highlighted key workforce characteristics important for this job. This provides some important areas of work to focus on regarding staff recruitment, retention and training needs. These findings are preliminary, further research in on-going and more data will be available to in our final report."
Kath Sykes, ARC KSS Implementation lead for Living Well with Dementia, said:
"This is a great example of the ARC KSS responding to a priority and opportunity within the system to help with the evaluation, development and sustainability of this highly-valued service, which supports people living with dementia.
"While we await further results we will be undertaking a community of practice to share these findings, and explore what these mean for, and what can be learnt from, other models of dementia support across KSS, and the region."
Download full interim report: Dementia Care Co-ordinators in Kent and Medway ICB: Interim findings from a realist evaluation.