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Evaluating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping™  (DCM™ ) to enable person-centred care for people with dementia and their carers: A cluster randomised controlled trial in care homes (EPIC trial)

What is the EPIC trial?

The EPIC trial is a large multi-centre trial led by Professor Claire Surr at Leeds Beckett University. Professor Murna Downs, Head of the School of Dementia Studies is a co- applicant on the project and, with Ms Juni West, is responsible for ensuring implementation of the DCM intervention.

Who is funding the EPIC trial?

The study is funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme of the National Institute for Health Research (project number 11/15/13).

Why is the EPIC trial important?

At least two-thirds of people living in care homes have dementia and many develop distressing behaviours such as agitation. Distressing behaviours such as agitation have been linked to unmet needs in people with dementia and they can be reduced by delivering care that is more supportive of each individual’s specific and often complex needs. Research shows that training in Person-Centred Care provides staff with the skills they need to prevent and support distressing behaviours. However, without extra support for staff to build on their training, these benefits soon disappear. The trial will provide definitive evidence about the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Dementia Care Mapping in reducing distressing behaviours such as agitation in care home residents.

What is Dementia Care Mapping?

Dementia Care Mapping™ (DCM™) is a methodology developed at the University of Bradford, recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and already widely used in the National Health Service (NHS) and in care homes to help staff to apply their person-centred care training to their caring role.

DCM™ involves staff observing the experience of care from the point of view of people with dementia and then feeding this back to staff, who use this information to look at ways they can improve care. This process is carried out every four to six months so changes can be monitored and new improvements identified.

The University of Bradford run training courses in DCM, nationally and internationally, the latter through partnerships with a range of organizations. 

How will we find out whether Dementia Care Mapping is helpful?

The study will involve 750 people with dementia and care staff in 50 care homes. Care homes have been recruited from the North of England, London and Oxford areas. Of the 50 care homes recruited to the study 20 homes will continue to deliver their usual care. Thirty care homes will be randomly allocated to have staff trained to use Dementia Care Mapping™ in addition to delivering their usual care.

We will compare changes in behaviours such as agitation in residents, their quality of life, the number of NHS services they need, and the numbers and types medications used to treat or manage distressing behaviours they are prescribed/given. We will look at these things at the start of the study, after 6 months and after 16 months. The study will also measure quality of staff interactions with residents, how staff feel about their job, their general health and feelings of stress and the number of staff resignations and sickness in both groups of homes.

When will the results be available?

We expect the results to be available in 2018.

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