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WHELD: Training care home staff to improve well-being and mental health of dementia residents led by NIHR ARC Peninsula and working with NIHR ARC South London, NIHR ARC East Midlands, NIHR ARC East of England, NIHR ARC North East North Cumbria, NIHR ARC North West Coast and NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber

Implementation of evidence-based cost-effective training for care home staff to improve Wellbeing and mental HEaLth for care home residents with Dementia and reduce unnecessary sedative medications (WHELD into Practice)

Principle Investigator:  Professor Clive Ballard

Team members: Joanne McDermid, Jane Fossey, Barbara Woodward Carlton, John-Paul Taylor, Louise Robinson, Martin Orrell, Clare Hulme, Sube Banerjee, Esme Moniz-Cook, Dag Aarsland, Annette Boaz, Clarissa Giebel, Caroline Watkins, Jo Day

Partners: NIHR ARC South West Peninsula ARC, University of Exeter, NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber, NIHR ARC East Midlands, NIHR ARC East of England, NIHR ACR South London, NIHR ARC North West Coast , NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria, University of Plymouth, University of Newcastle, University of Hull, King’s College London, University of Nottingham, South West AHSN, Pendennis Care Home, Devon Partnership NHS trust, Alzheimer’s Society.

Research sites: University of Exeter, University of Newcastle, University of Hull, King’s College London, University of Nottingham, University of Liverpool

Starts: 1/09/2021

Ends:  31/03/2023

Lay Summary 

WHELD is an evidence-based person-centred training programme which, in 4 clinical trials involving 2349 care home residents with dementia, demonstrated benefits in well-being and mental health and a reduction in sedative medications across London and Buckinghamshire. No similar programme has been successfully implemented in the UK or elsewhere. Nationwide implementation would have a major impact on well-being among the most vulnerable people with dementia.  

Lead ARC South West Peninsula with implementation sites also in East Midlands, East of England, North East and North Cumbria, North West, and Yorkshire and Humber ARCs 

WHELD intervention resources have been optimized for implementation, based on the results of our recent COVID WHELD programme. WHELD will now be implemented in 75 care homes in ARC regions where WHELD has not previously been delivered. Implementation evaluation will identify implementation enablers and barriers, fidelity, reach and buy-in, and provide illustrative case studies. Engagement of PPI representatives and stakeholders to Develop Real World Implementation Plan will be integrated throughout the programme.  Key stakeholder groups for this work will include commissioners, senior representatives from Integrated care system organizations, representatives from the AHSNs in the different ARC regions and care home owners/senior managers.  A series of dissemination activities, including stakeholder workshops, will enable the development of a plan for scaling up the implementation to national level and any required adaptations to WHELD resources.

Progress by October 2022:

The digital materials for the programme have been optimized. The programme has IRAS approval and CRN adoption. We currently have 19 participating care homes, with a goal of completing recruitment by the end of March 2023. The first PPI and stakeholder workshops have been completed, with further workshops through the autumn and in the New Year.

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