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Combining new, proven and effective ways of working to enhance the quality of care and outcomes for people with dementia in Oxfordshire care homes, and enabling family and paid carers to feel better supported to deliver their caring role.

In Oxfordshire, at least 63% of care home residents living in the county’s 102 homes have a recognised degree of dementia. Improving care for people with dementia is a key priority in Oxfordshire’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2012-16.

ECHO integrates the established care home support service with a new mental health in-reach service, aiming to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for people with dementia and enable family and paid carers to feel better supported to deliver their caring role.

The ECHO model of care combines new ways of working which have been shown to be effective in research trials and will evaluate their effectiveness in the ‘real world’ routine NHS setting.

We are evaluating the impact of this service on:

  • health and well-being of people with dementia;
  • family/carer satisfaction;
  • staffs’ perception of the benefits and difficulties of the new model;
  • service quality;
  • rates of recognition of dementia and people presenting for early diagnosis;
  • referrals to community services within Oxford Health NHS FT;
  • crisis admissions to acute mental health wards and acute hospital wards;
  • length of hospital stay; and
  • the economic impact of this model of care.

The implementation of the new model started in October 2014 and after a six-month pilot of the approach and evaluation measures a full evaluation took place between April 2015 and March 2016.

The data is currently being analysed and the service is continuing to run. Further developments will be responsive to the findings of the study  which are due in Autumn 2016.

The outcomes will be analysed and reported to commissioners, service users and through CLAHRC Oxford and the Academic Health Science Network Oxford.

The findings will also be shared with NHS staff and organisations, the wider scientific/health research community through research papers, and information for lay audiences.

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