The Decaf Project

Cuppa today? Decaf's the way!

Stow Healthcare, supported by Care England, have been working with our staff, our residents and their families to promote decaffeinated hot drinks in our care homes. To read our report on this study click here.

Caffeine has a diuretic effect, impacting the bladder and bowel and increasing the urgency of using the toilet.  From June 2023, we trialled offering decaf drinks as standard in our homes (whilst allowing choice for those who wanted to continue to drink caffeine).  We wanted to see if there was a connection between caffeine and increased levels of falls in our residents.

Falls associated with frailty not only cost the NHS £4.4bn per year, but they can have a significant impact on the physical and mental well-being of older people.

89% of our residents chose to take up the offer of decaffeinated drinks in June, and this rose to 92% by the end of the trial. Over 6 months, we saw falls associated with going to the loo reduce by 35% across our care homes! 

This project was made possible by the innovative work of Continence Specialist Nurse Sarah Coombes from University Hospitals of Leicester, where this project was first trialled in a hospital setting.  Stow Healthcare is proud to be the first social care provider to take up the ‘Taste the Difference’ Challenge and we hope that other social care providers will be inspired to do the same with the aim of improving health and wellbeing outcomes for older people in social care.

Please do use the resources on this page to help with your own project and email us at if you would like any support or advice.  Remember, you don’t need to wear a white coat to be a scientist!

“Since being on decaf, once I go to sleep, I sleep right through until 5am. I used to wake frequently through the night to go to the loo. Having an undisturbed night has made a huge difference, as I am no longer so tired during the day.”

Resident feedback from Cedars Place