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Reports of Covid-19 pandemic related day centre closures impacting negatively on their attenders and family carers have fuelled a resurgence of interest in day centres, a common, but often ‘invisible’, preventive service. The absence of detailed descriptions from the literature limits the day centre evidence base since outcomes data without context are less meaningful.

This report aims to further the understanding of these diverse, multi-faceted settings for potential collaborators and social care and health professionals.

Data included in this report are drawn from documentation provided by managers of four purposively selected English day centres for older people, interviews with 23 centre managers, staff and volunteers, and notes made during 56 full-day visits.

In this report, we present a rich, contemporary, non-interpretative, pre-Covid pandemic descriptive picture covering aims, funding models, location, internal environments, staffing, day structure, charges and a typical day.

Not all sub-typologies of day centre are represented here because of service reviews, declining numbers of centres and a lack of publicly available information.

Within the context of sustainability, social prescribing initiatives and other policy goals in England, this baseline data will support conversations concerning optimisation of these multi-faceted services in the post-pandemic recovery period and beyond: how buildings may be regarded as valuable community assets with potential, how other parts of the health and care system may better interact with day services to improve older people’s, carers’ and others’ health and wellbeing, and to benefit of staff working elsewhere in health and care, and the potential for other local collaborations. Further exploration of day centre cost-effectiveness is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherNIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, The Policy Institute, King's College London
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2023


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