When people think of research they often think of clinical trials and scientists in white coats in laboratories, but social and technological research is equally important. Research into the best ways to care for people is paramount as current standards often fall short of the ideal. This is often due to, in the past, low pay and low public esteem as to the work that goes on in care homes.
We have all heard the old adages ‘Never work with children or animals’ or ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ and I think that sometimes research in care homes and with people with dementia are often perceived similarly by fellow academics; just too difficult to do and only undertaken by the foolhardy.
I have been working on ENRICH since November 2014 - the ENRICH Project was launched nationally in 2012 but the initiative was not taken up in the West Midlands until late 2014, when we had 1 care home signed up and little research activity. CRN West Midlands is the second largest Network with a population of 5.7 million (the size of Denmark), and houses over 800 care homes.