When a researcher leaves a care home after gathering the information they need, this may be the end of the research for the staff and residents, but it is just the beginning of the next stage of the process for the researcher – analysing and sharing their findings.
I first dipped my toe into the world of research almost 10 years ago when conducting a randomised control trial investigating infection control in care homes. We were specifically looking at MRSA infection rates in care homes, when MRSA was an extremely hot topic in the media.
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.