A new online Resources Hub to support day centres for older people and professionals interested in these services

Katharine Orellana & Kritika Samsi (NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, King’s College London; NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London). (592 words)

Our unique new Day Centre Resources Hub was co-produced with day centres for older people and their broader professional stakeholders. We created the Hub to support day centre sustainability by improving knowledge about them, supporting their operation, and encouraging joint working.

The Hub provides useful information, practical tips, guides, case study examples and templates that can be downloaded and used to help inform your work. Topics covered include research, outcomes and impact, marketing, recruitment and local examples.

Day centres are often valued places for people with social care and support needs who want to remain living in their communities (Bennet et al 2023, Lunt el al 2021, Orellana et al 2020, Orellana et al 2024). Their providers would like these services to be more central to health and social care systems.

In a survey, service providers told us they felt unsupported and underprepared for current and future environments. Providers, professional decision-makers and community groups would like to know more about the research evidence about day centres. And there is an appetite for joint working – for developing local relationships with professionals, other services, businesses and community groups – that needs to be stimulated.

To address these matters, we asked 19 people (from day centres and professional stakeholders in a variety of roles) what resources were missing. Researchers and a group of 12 day centre providers, other professionals and people interested in day centres then prioritised, identified, assembled, and developed resources that fill some of the gaps they highlighted. These resources were then tested in three day centres, by five people working in social care, two people working in health and a social care researcher. Their feedback was used to refine the resources.

The Hub includes resources primarily for people working in roles that have, or could have, connections with day centres for older people and older people with dementia, and for day centres themselves. For example people whose roles involve funding, planning, evaluating, referring or signposting to day centres, people who have local relationships with them, or who might consider engaging with them in other ways. It is not a guide on how to set up and run a day centre and does not provide contact information about individual day centres.

My overall reflection is that this is the type of resource I wish I had when I first started commissioning day services seven years ago. I can see this being like a ‘one stop shop’ resource that collates examples of what good looks like and valuable hints and tips that can be considered by professionals from different sectors, whether it’s policy makers, commissioners, or providers.”
—A commissioner who ‘road-tested’ the Day Centre Resources Hub.

We believe that being co-produced with input from experts with a range of experience and serving different roles is the Hub’s strength, and the reason why we received so much positive feedback when the initial version was being ‘road-tested’. Even early on, we were delighted that some organisations contributing case studies found feedback from our Reference Group of expert stakeholders immediately helpful. We hope that people will dip into the Hub to find specific resources as and when they need them. One of the Reference Group members told us “I think these resources will inspire day care providers to think imaginatively and to feel empowered. It will change the way their service is provided. Importantly it will also help to improve the understanding of day centres that many professionals currently have.”

Visit the Day Centre Resources Hub | See the flyer about it.

Find out more about our Social Care research work at ARC South London.

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Researchers are also part of the Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, which is core funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme (Ref. PR-PRU-1217-21002). The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

BENNETT, L., CAMERON, A., PATSIOS, D., THORN, J., WILLIS, P., WEST, K., HANKINS, S., GREEN, R. & DAVIES, S. 2023. Reimagining collective day care for older people: key findings. ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’.  Bristol: University of Bristol.

LUNT, C., SHIELS, C., DOWRICK, C. & LLOYD-WILLIAMS, M. 2021. Outcomes for older people with long-term conditions attending day care services delivered by paid staff or volunteers: a comparative study. Palliative Care and Social Practice, 15, 26323524211030283.

ORELLANA, K., MANTHORPE, J. & TINKER, A. 2020. Day centres for older people – attender characteristics, access routes and outcomes of regular attendance: findings of exploratory mixed methods case study research.

ORELLANA, K., SAMSI, K., MANTHORPE, J. & GREEN, C. 2024. Priorities for day centre support and research, and the importance of centralised supportive information for day centres and their stakeholders. International Journal of Care and Caring, 8, 64-81.

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