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Cameos of care homes: Revealing the resilience and expertise of care homes

A collaboration between the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, The Policy Institute at King’s, and the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, funded by NHS England

What is 'Cameos of Care Homes'?

Six ‘Vanguard’ areas across England have been developing approaches to enable care homes to better support the increasingly complex health needs of their residents, as part of the NHS New Care Models Programme. As these approaches are now mainstreamed and rolled out nationally, the Vanguard care homes can offer inspiration to others, and their staff have stories to tell about the support they received and the expertise they have developed.

The ‘Cameos of Care Homes’ film (20 minutes) captures these stories within one Vanguard area where staff (pictured) in two care homes reflect on their experiences and the impact so far. There is also a three minute teaser of the film. Alongside the film, the booklet outlines the project’s main messages, a brief PowerPoint presents how care homes describe their sources of local support and learning, and on the blog we introduce the project.

As well as being freely available online, the film will be shown and discussed at our Care Home Forum on 28 November 2018 at the Waterloo Campus of King's College London. All welcome: details & booking.


‘Have just watched the above, I was very impressed with the professionalism and hard work which has gone into making the initiative such a success and well done to all of the Champions!! It is very satisfying to know that Auntie is being looked after by such capable and loving carers - thank you.’

A message to the manager of one of the care homes featured in the film from the relative of a resident

Main messages

  • When care home staff and managers talked about taking part in the Vanguard they described the impact on individual staff, on their care for their residents and on the wider care home:
  • Empowering care home staff by improving individuals’ knowledge, confidence and morale, and by building the communication skills and learning culture of the collective staff team.
  • Supporting staff in improving the quality of care to residents by being better at preventative care, therefore reducing call outs to GPs, district nurses, ambulances, and ultimately reducing hospital admissions, whilst also improving relationships with local health service partners.
  • Participating was resource intensive for individual staff, in the training they took on, and managers to release staff for ‘Champions’ training and to oversee changes in practice.
  • But elements of the Vanguard saved resources: Impartial Assessors saved senior staff time travelling to hospitals; Medicine Optimisation reduced administering unnecessary medication; and Red Bags reduced the need to repeatedly give information to hospital staff and to chase residents’ lost possessions.
  • Strong commitment was needed from care home staff, managers and owners, as was ongoing support from Vanguard training bodies to embed new knowledge and skills and to refresh and update learning.


‘Cameos of Care Homes’ is freely available online and offers a distinct social care workforce perspective as part of the range of NHS England tools aimed at disseminating learning from the Vanguards in order to assist health and social care providers across England to adopt these approaches. NHS England has shared the film within its national care home networks and its information bulletins.

The teaser for the Cameos of Care Homes film was shown to sector leaders at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo 2018 in September 2018.

The film is showcased on ‘A Healthier Future’ website, focusing on 'Improving health & care in Herts and west Essex'.

16 October 2018: ‘I watched the Cameos film - it was so positive and the resources are presented well, backed up by the PowerPoint presentation. Good messages about having champions for various aspects of good practice in care homes and for cascading learning … Of course I was interested in what was said about ‘Activity and Engagement Champions’ and am now designing this as an approach in MHA (formerly Methodist Homes for the Aged).’—Maria Parsons, Chief Executive, Creative Dementia Arts Network.

The teaser film was shown at the national Care Show in Birmingham on 17 October 2018 as part of a joint presentation on ‘Building a Multi Skills Workforce’ by the Hertfordshire Care Providers Association and Hertfordshire County Council.

19 October 2018: Mark Ivory, Editor of the Journal of Dementia Care, showcased ‘Cameos of Care Homes’ to Journal of Dementia Care subscribers as one of his “Editor’s Picks” of weekly news, stories and comment.

The full film was shown and discussed at the 28 November 2018 meeting of the Margaret Butterworth Care Home Forum at King’s College London.


One Vanguard area – East and North Hertfordshire – was engaged to participate, and within it two care homes recruited. Initial visits took place to get to know care home staff and familiarize them with the project. All staff, particularly Vanguard trained ‘champions,’ were invited to take part in a brief filmed interview. Six staff interviews in each care home captured how the homes have adapted to the changing demands of care, as part of the Vanguard process. Between them, these 12 staff have over 210 years of experience of working in social care.


2017 – 2018


NHS England

Project team

Jess Harris and Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU), Saba Hinrichs-Krapels (The Policy Institute at King’s College London), Professor Anne Marie Rafferty (Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London), Athena Mandis (Independent Filmmaker)

Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator