Select Page

Rapid responses

Current projects

Development of a prototype minimum data set for homecare

April 2024 – September 2024


In England, there are over 8000 registered homecare agencies, providing support to almost one million older people in their own homes.

However, we know little about who uses homecare, what sort of care they need, or which other services they access.

There is also no systematic approach to sharing data as people access different services. This is a key reason why we know so little about the population of people who use homecare.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) ‘Developing a minimum data set for homecare’ (DACHA-DOM) study was part of a larger project that aimed to explore the potential of developing a national minimum data set (MDS) for homecare. It built on the research done in care homes by the main DACHA study.

The ‘Developing research resources And minimum data set for Care Homes’ Adoption’ (DACHA) study has coincided with developments led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England (NHSE) on digital social care records, and worked closely with colleagues to ensure the relevance of the work.

Aims and objectives

This project will aim to combine evidence from the DACHA-DOM study and the DACHA minimum data set in care homes pilot, to suggest content for a minimum dataset for homecare that is usable, feasible and acceptable to relevant stakeholder groups.


We will use a number of methods for this project including desk-based research, stakeholder consultations and workshops.

Policy relevance

This will be relevant across many government departments. The findings will support DHSC and NHSE work on social care data/digitalisation.


Completed projects

Office for Health Improvement and Disparities Fingertips: Public Health Data Productive Healthy Ageing Profile – Informal Consultation Review and Feedback Report

February 2024

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities asked the PRU to undertake an informal review of their current public health data, productive healthy ageing profile to inform an internal review. The PRU carried out an informal internal consultation as part of a responsive request.

Office for Health Improvement and Disparities Fingertips: Public Health Data Productive Healthy Ageing Profile – Informal Consultation Review and Feedback Report – Full Report (PDF).

Scoping for a return on investment tool for dementia

May 2023

This responsive project sought to analyse the strength of evidence to determine whether it would be feasible to build a return on investment tool to support local commissioning decisions around investing in reducing the risk of dementia. The research team, in agreement with DHSC, focussed on three of the twelve known modifiable risk factors: low education, physical inactivity and hearing loss as they pertain to different points in the life course: early life, mid-life and later life respectively.

Scoping for a return-on-investment tool for dementia Executive SummaryFull Report (PDF).

Effectiveness of dance interventions on falls prevention in older adults: a rapid review

April 2023

This review examined whether, dance-based interventions are effective in preventing falls, reducing risk of falls, or preventing fear of falls in older adults and to provide an overview of the evidence for cost-effectiveness of dance-based interventions for falls prevention amongst older people.

This project was requested by DHSC to support evidence-based decision making in the NHS and social/leisure care services on investment in dance-based falls prevention interventions rather than strength and balance interventions.

Effectiveness of dance interventions on falls prevention in older adults: a rapid review Executive Summary, Briefing SummaryFull Report (PDF).  Journal Article – Age & Ageing May 2024

The role of digital technologies in supporting people living with dementia

January 2022

To inform the forthcoming national Dementia Strategy and NHSX development the OPFPRU were asked to undertake a series of rapid responsive pieces specifically looking at digital technologies for those living with dementia and their carers. The following two reports were:

Digital technology to support people living with dementia and their carers – Executive Summary, Full Report (PDF):

  • What technologies are being used to support independence and safety among people living with dementia at home and in care homes?
  • What are the cost benefits and savings for provider organisations and the NHS of using the technology?
  • What are the barriers to scaling the technology?

Digital technologies to prevent falls in people living with dementia Executive Summary (PDF), MOBEX Conference slides January 2023 (PDF),  Journal Article – Age & Ageing Jan 24 :

  • What is the evidence that digital technologies can reduce falls and fall risk for people living with dementia?

The effectiveness of PPE in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in health and social care settings

December 2021

A rapid review of the effectiveness of PPE in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in health and social care settings briefing paper submitted to the SAGE Social Care Working Group. This is now available on the SAGE website.

Women’s Health

November 2021

Working in collaboration with the PREPARE (Partnership for REsponsive Policy Analysis and Research) at the University of York and The Kings Fund to undertake a series of focus groups with women aged 65+ to understand their priorities for women’s health. This work was to support the development of the forthcoming women’s health strategy.

Supported Housing

June 2021

A rapid scoping exercise of the UK literature on supported housing. The scope focuses on work published in the last 10 years and contains the major pieces of evidence found.

Family visits to care homes: experiences and perspectives on policies and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 2021

The NIHR Policy Research Unit in Older People and Frailty was approached by the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and the Sage Social Care Working Group to carry out research exploring experiences and preferences of care home staff, families and relatives on visiting in the time of the pandemic. The team carried out a scope of current ongoing research at the time.

Physical activity – life course trajectories and patterns of strength in the UK

December 2020-May 2021

An evidence review examining patterns of strength across the life course and to identify an optimum point at which to intervene to prevent decline, as well as identifying an appropriate measure that could be administered in any large scale surveys, epidemiological studies or interventions.

Identifying clinical frailty in younger groups

June 2020

A rapid evidence review in response to a specific request from NHS England for research into the identification of frailty in younger populations.

National Early Warning Scores and COVID-19 deaths in care homes: a longitudinal ecological study

June 2020

This study addressed the question: Can information routinely collected by some care homes contribute to surveillance of COVID-19 infections in care homes?

How effective is public health advice for healthy ageing and can it be updated based on any recent research?

October 2019

Summarising the current evidence about physical activity to promote healthy ageing.

What matters to people with multiple conditions (multimorbidities) and their carers?

June 2019-September 2019

A series of focus groups centring on issues specific or unique to the lived experience of older people living with multiple conditions, drawing on work conducted in 2017 to support the James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) exercise on Multiple Conditions in Later Life.

Summarising existing evidence, including the type and frequency of exercise, needed to improve bone health and reduce/prevent falls

April 2019

A rapid evidence review for research into falls, strength and balance.

COVID-19 rapid responses

See details of our rapid responses relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Newcastle University logo

The University of Manchester logo