Impact of the Enhanced Universal Support Offer to Care Homes during COVID-19 in the UK: Evaluation using appreciative inquiry

Sally Fowler Davis, Rachel Cholerton, Mandy Philbin, Kathy Clark, Gill Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are over 2,300 care homes in the North East and Yorkshire Region, with rising rates of COVID-19 infection in April 2020. The Enhanced Universal Support Offer (EUSO) planned to improve support to care homes, working collaboratively with local integrated community services. Implementation was organised at ‘place’, through clinical commissioning and it was focused on leadership, prevention, additional clinical support, and workforce planning. The aim of the evaluation research was to understand the impact of the EUSO. The evaluation was co-produced by a group of senior leaders with additional academic involvement. An appreciative inquiry approach informed the interviews and focus groups with representative stakeholders. A thematic analysis using NVivo enabled a validation process and the data were charted into a systems framework. Data analysis resulted in five high level themes: Communication, Working Relationships, Systemic Perceptions, COVID-19 Implementation, and Organisational Support. Best practices were associated with joint working between health, local authority and care homes including medication optimisation and technology use. Care homes valued access to a named General Practitioner and community nursing working as a part of a wider multidisciplinary team. Conversely an overly reactive response to care homes combined with ‘command and control’ limited the benefits that were achieved. The EUSO was delivered at pace and resulted in an increased appreciation of the policy and principles of care home residents and workforce. The evaluation reflected a need to appreciate the care homes' knowledge and experience of resident wellbeing, and more fully involve them in the design of the support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


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