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The role of
social care in





Please join us virtually or in person at our annual Care Home Research Forum at Hammerson House, 50A The Bishops Avenue, London N2 0BE on Wednesday, 29th November 2023 (9.30am to 4pm).

To find out more and to book your place:

“Hearing loss commonly occurs alongside dementia, yet tests for dementia often include verbal questions that rely on hearing. The new test replaces spoken questions with written ones. It was evaluated in a study of 256 people and found to be accurate and reliable. People scored similarly when they were tested 2 to 4 weeks after their first test.

The new test could accurately diagnose dementia in people with hearing problems. However, it needs to be explored further. Women tended to score lower than men, and it was less effective in different languages.”

If you would like to read more on this topic click here 

“The Research Programme for Social Care (RPSC) will replace NIHR’s Research for Social Care (RfSC) funding call. RfSC has invested £13 million into social care research across six funding calls since its launch in 2019. The new programme’s first funding call will open on 27 September 2023.

RPSC will fund research focused on improving social care for both adults and children. The programme is encouraging applications from researchers at all stages of their careers. Funding will be available for a wide range of social care research topics and research designs. Applicants in the devolved administrations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – will be eligible.

NIHR is delighted that RPSC will be led by Professor Martin Knapp as Programme Director. Professor Knapp is also Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, and Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, in the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The new Programme aligns with DHSC’s new Innovation and Improvement unit, which is working with sector partners to establish clear priorities for innovation and research across adult social care. When fully established, the unit will look at how research can inform all aspects of policymaking and delivery of care across the sector, to ensure we learn from best practice and promote new approaches to care that can improve outcomes for the people at the heart of it.

RPSC will run two funding calls each year and more focused highlight notices periodically.

Professor Knapp said, “The launch of this new Programme highlights NIHR’s commitment to funding the research we need to improve social care. I’m excited to work with people who draw on social care, carers and social care professionals across the sector to tackle the challenges we need to address with innovative new research.”

A continued focus on social care research

RPSC is part of NIHR’s continued focus on building and improving social care research. Since 2006, the NIHR has awarded more than £200 million to social care research projects. The new programme stands alongside several other high-profile endeavours to provide evidence and support researchers and social care practitioners:

  • NIHR’s School for Social Care Research. The SSCR aims to develop the evidence base for adult social care practice in England
  • The Social Care Incubator, supported by NIHR. The incubator provides opportunities for researchers to learn about adult social care, related research and the opportunities that exist for developing research knowledge, skills, networks and projects in the sector.
  • NIHR’s Applied Research Collaborations. The ARCs each focus on social care as part of their applied health research. ARC Kent, Surrey and Sussex is the ARC national priority lead for social care and social work.
  • NIHR’s Policy Research Units. Several PRUs focus on social care topics, including Adult Social Care, Health and Social Care Workforce, Health and Social Care Systems and Commissioning, the Economics of Health and Social Care, and Quality, Safety and Outcomes of Health and Social Care.

The NIHR also runs the Health and Social Care Delivery Research Programme, which funds research to produce rigorous and relevant evidence to improve the quality, accessibility and organisation of health and social care services.

The existing service has enjoyed considerable success, with approximately 60,000 people currently registered, over 10,000 new volunteers in the last year. Volunteers have been involved in a range of studies which have helped improve quality of life and led to some promising pharmaceutical breakthroughs.

Over recent weeks we have discussed the service with people living with dementia and their families, as well as charities, government organisations, researchers and other stakeholders.

This feedback is helping us to understand the current challenges facing users and researchers and how to ensure the service works for them. We are working on a blueprint for an improved dementia research service which will be tested and refined over the coming months.

We are continuing our commitment to involving people with dementia in the design process and to ensure research remains as accessible as possible to people living with the condition. Ultimately, the work should enable more high-quality dementia research to take place through the service and enable more people to actively take part.

We are grateful for the continued support Join Dementia Research receives from the care home community, residents, and their families and friends.

Join Dementia Research stories:

Please encourage your residents and their families and friends to sign up to Join Dementia Research.

“Research found that the virtual reality therapy required less therapist time than usual care, and could be delivered by staff with no experience of delivering talking therapies.

People with psychosis have lost some contact with reality. They may see or hear things that other people do not (hallucinations), or believe things that are not true (delusions). Almost 2 in 3 people with psychosis also struggle with agoraphobia. They can be helped by talking therapies but there is a shortage of trained therapists. This study assessed whether virtual reality could be used to deliver effective therapy.

The researchers worked with people with lived experience of psychosis to develop the virtual reality therapy. Those receiving the treatment wore a virtual reality headset, and explored an electronic version of an everyday situation they found distressing (getting on a bus or visiting the doctor, for instance).

All participants in this study received usual care (prescribed medications, regular visits from a community mental health worker and occasional outpatient appointments with a psychiatrist). Half received virtual reality therapy in addition. The study found that the virtual reality therapy generally had a positive impact. People in the group who received it were less likely to avoid situations they found uncomfortable, and were less distressed. Those with severe agoraphobia described lasting benefits.”

Read more here 

ENRICH Scotland (ENabling Research In Care Homes) ENRICH Scotland | NHS Research Scotland | NHS Research Scotland is proud to present its new short (2 minute) film about research in care homes, bringing to life its mission to unify care home staff, residents, and their families with researchers to improve lives.

The film was designed and developed by ENRICH’s ‘patient and public involvement group’ known as RICH (Research in Care Homes) Voices.

If you missed our CRED talk this week we have recorded it, therefore you do not need to miss a thing!

We heard from:

Chair: Professor Deborah Sturdy, England’s Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care

Adeela Usman, Doctoral Fellow at the University of Nottingham: QUINCE study: How quality of life is described and can be delivered in care homes

Dr Kellyn Lee, WISER Health and Social Care, and Dr Jane Frankland, University of Southampton: Material Citizenship training: how thinking about everyday objects differently can improve quality of life in care homes

Bryony Beresford, Professor of Health and Care Services Research, University of York: Behind the scenes: organisational features and practices which support and nurture relationship-centred homecare


Please see the recording of the webinar here.

We are now welcoming proposals for #CRED talks on other topics in the months to come. If you are a research team or research-practice partnership with social care research to share, please contact to find out more.

“The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has funded a new major study investigating how music therapy can reduce patient distress and physical assaults on NHS inpatient wards for people with dementia.

The study is called MELODIC – Music therapy Embedded in the Life of Dementia mental health Inpatient Care. It’s being led by Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, alongside Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

The researchers are also working in partnership with Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and Dementia UK.”

Read more here 

“Free hybrid (in person and online) symposium Experiences and Innovations in Long-Term Care: Hybrid Research Seminar

Wednesday, 12th July.  13:00-15:00 (BST)

The University of Manchester is hosting an afternoon of presentations and discussion about the latest research in long-term care for older adults.


  •  Dr Charlene Chu (Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto): The experiences of essential family caregivers of residents in long-term care during COVID-19
  •  Norina Gasteiger (Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester): Learning by doing: A realist mixed-methods study exploring the feasibility, usability, acceptability and efficacy of virtual reality and augmented reality hand hygiene training for care home workers
  • Dr Maria Panagioti (Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care, University of Manchester): Making transitions between care homes and hospitals safer

The event is free to attend, and will run in hybrid format (in-person and online).”

To register please click here

For further details please contact



“Free online seminar: Developing a care partner policy: case studies from the NHS and social care

Thursday, 13 July. 13:00 – 14:30 (BST)

For many older adults who draw on health or social care, support from a loved one is essential to their health and wellbeing. The person who provides this support is often referred to a ‘care partner’ to denote how integral they are to the care of their friend or family member.

Researchers at King’s College London are hosting an online seminar series to explore the role of care partners in health and social care settings. Join us on 13 July to hear from NHS England about the development of their new care partner policy which will be released shortly for stakeholder engagement. We will also learn about how one group of care homes has actively worked alongside families to support the residents in their care.”

You can register by clicking here

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Jo Brown (


“Webinar 1

Friday 21 July 2023. 12:00-13:30 – Online 

The first webinar will be about Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of care home based research: Shifting the balance- enabling care home staff and residents to be partners and leaders in research.

Chair: Julienne Meyer


  • Evidence review and uptake: Sarah Kelly (University of Cambridge), Guy Peryer (University of East Anglia) and Karen Spilsbury (University of Leeds)
  • Care home trials archive: what questions interest care home staff and researchers? Lisa Irvine (University of Hertfordshire).
  • Resident and staff engagement with research questions: Anne Killett (University of East Anglia)”

Who should attend?

The webinar will be of interest to researchers and people working in, with and for care homes.

More information or to register please click here ARC East of England webpage