Reasons for working with researchers

Care home managers and staff are natural researchers. It may not be termed in that way, because they ‘think of something, try it out, and if it goes well they try it again, change it or forget it’, and in simple terms this is what research is all about - organised curiosity.

Evidence consistently shows that the experience and expertise of care home staff is often overlooked by researchers. Research is improved when care home staff are involved in setting questions, deciding how to collect information and interpreting what is important, from the perspective of residents and those people that support them. The NIHR ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network supports this vital input to research.

Getting involved in research can potentially lead to benefits for your residents, staff and your business.


Directly and indirectly enhances the quality of life for residents

For example it can

  • Provide additional stimulation as residents take part in a new activity or have someone new to talk to.
  • Give control back to residents, allowing them to feel like they are contributing to their future and the next generation.
  • Living in a nursing home can make you feel invisible to the outside world. Being involved in an ongoing project can renew a resident’s self-esteem and sense of worth.
  • Stimulate residents to take an increased interest in their own health and wellbeing.

Potential benefits for care home teams

For example:

  • Staff can gain additional training, support, discuss new practices, learn new skills and network with other care homes. Care homes are busy environments, and so the level of involvement needs to be managed to suit the individual circumstances of the home.
  • Increase job satisfaction and wellbeing for staff; creating an atmosphere which encourages excellence and improvement.
  • Link care homes and provide them with feedback about common problems and if their experiences and issues are similar to those of other care homes.

Provides your home with the latest information on science and technology advances

For example, research can

  • Enable care home owners and managers to learn of new developments, which can contribute to delivery of improvements in the home’s business and marketing plans.
  • Help demonstrate to the public that the care home sector is actively focused on good care and improving delivery.
  • Encourage researchers and funders to address issues that are of greater interest to them such as symptom management and end-of-life care.
  • Improve contact between care homes and other local health and care services. This can lead to a better understanding of care and counteract stereotypes.
  • Provide an effective voice for residents, families and staff whose views may have been previously unheard.

Being involved in research can be as simple as distributing information about research studies or as engaged as helping to deliver part of a project. The care home’s involvement can be planned around the time you have available and shaped to suit how you work. This can be achieved by direct contact with researchers, or through participating in the NIHR ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network.

“For me, participating in research is a win win situation. Researchers get the information needed for research and we get: resident and relative participation, well informed staff who feel motivated, included and have a sense of self-worth, and it’s a great marketing tool for our home, even the CQC were interested and impressed to learn of our participation and involvement”.

Cath David, Manager, Well Springs Nursing Home


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