BHiRCH: Better Health in Residents in Care Homes

Professor Murna Downs- Chief Investigator

Co-Investigators - Dr Liz Sampson, Ms Rachel Hunter, Ms Barbara Woodward-Carlton, Professor Clive Ballard, Dr Greta Rait, Professor Heather Gage, Professor John Wright, Professor John Young, Dr Katherine Froggatt, Professor Louise Robinson, Professor Nicholas Freemantle, Ms Shirley Nurock, Professor Brendan McCormack, Mrs Caroline Baker.

BHiRCH is funded by a National Institute for Health Research programme grant. The study started on June 1 2015 and will last 3 years and 3 months. Information will be gathered in London and in West Yorkshire. This study aims to develop and test a complex intervention to reduce rates of avoidable hospital admissions from nursing homes.

A lot of people go to hospital for conditions that could have been treated in the care home. These avoidable hospital admissions are often for:

  • acute exacerbation of congestive heart failure
  • respiratory infections
  • urinary tract infection
  • dehydration

Hospitalisation is costly to the NHS and can be distressing to the person, their family and nursing home staff. Early identification of changes in residents' health is essential to ensure active health care in nursing homes. The BHiRCH study aims to improve health care in care homes by providing education for nurses and care assistants, implementing care protocols and pathways, promoting and understanding family involvement, and support for making change happen. Alongside training days, a study manual and handbooks have been developed for care home staff to achieve these aims.

Plan of work

In year one: We developed the components of this complex intervention by reviewing the pre-existing literature and engaging with clinicians, care home staff, family members.

In years two and three:

We will initially test the intervention in two care homes. Once we are confident that it has been implemented as planned, we will then expand the test to a further 14 nursing homes. We will be interested to see whether the complex intervention affects rates of avoidable hospital admissions and other outcomes of importance to residents, staff and families.

For more information, please visit the  BHiRCH web site: http://www.bradford.ac.uk/health/dementia/research/bhirch/