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Welcome to the ENRICH guest blog

Read the real-life experiences of people involved in care home research.

Anyone with a story or advice they'd like to share is encouraged to make contact using the contact us page.

Read about current news and developments for care homes research in the new posts section.

Dr Kellyn Lee is a Chartered Psychologist and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, School of Health Sciences. She is the founder of WISER Health and Social Care and The Dementia Care Hub (www.dementiacarehub.co.uk)

4th August
2022

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Material Citizenship in Care Homes

Dr Kellyn Lee is a Chartered Psychologist and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, School of Health Sciences. She is the founder of WISER Health and Social Care and The Dementia Care Hub (www.dementiacarehub.co.uk)

In this blog Kellyn discusses why everyday objects are crucial for reimagining dementia care. She introduces the concept of Material Citizenship and shows some results from its application in care homes in the UK.

Dr Jacqueline Damant has worked as a researcher with the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006.  Her main research interests include the digital inclusion of older people, dementia care and quality of care home services.  Jacqueline also works as a RN in a community hospital with the Oxford Health NHS Trust.

30th May
2022

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Community resources impacting quality of residential care for older people: a scoping study

Dr Jacqueline Damant has worked as a researcher with the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006. Her main research interests include the digital inclusion of older people, dementia care and quality of care home services. Jacqueline also works as a RN in a community hospital with the Oxford Health NHS Trust.

Community capital can be defined as the trust that bonds families and communities together. Evidence suggests that community capital can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, and the quality of health and social care services, within in a defined community (a community can be geographic, ethnic, cultural, religious, etc). However, little is understood about the impact of community capital on older people living in residential care. In a literature review, a series of interviews with key experts and a search for existing datasets, this scoping study endeavours to identify the issues around the type of community capital residential care facilities have access to, what effects it may have on the quality of care and how community capital impacts the choices residents and families make around care home services. In addition, during this study a user, carer and practitioner group (UCPG) will be established. Findings from the current study, along with the advice and guidance from the UCPG, will contribute towards the development of a proposal for a substantive study on this topic.

Sevim Y Hodge is a registered nurse and aspiring academic. She has a special interest in the care of older adults living with frailty, acute deterioration and sepsis management. She is an advocate for improving care and access to care for care home residents. She is using her PhD research to better understand how the care of suddenly unwell residents is identified and managed; learn from care home staff about caring for some of the most vulnerable adults in society and develop ways to improve this aspect of care with, and informed by care home staff.

23rd May
2022

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New NIHR study – Acute deterioration in care home residents: recognising and responding to acutely unwell residents.

Sevim Y Hodge is a registered nurse and aspiring academic. She has a special interest in the care of older adults living with frailty, acute deterioration and sepsis management. She is an advocate for improving care and access to care for care home residents. She is using her PhD research to better understand how the care of suddenly unwell residents is identified and managed; learn from care home staff about caring for some of the most vulnerable adults in society and develop ways to improve this aspect of care with, and informed by care home staff.

In this blog I will discuss my PhD project which seeks to understand  acute deterioration in care home settings.

Older people in care homes are some of the frailest in society. Their care is complex and they are at an increased risk of becoming suddenly unwell and acutely deteriorating. There has been a big push to improve how acute deterioration in residents is recognised and managed. However, we are yet to understand what acute deterioration means in the context of care homes, how it is recognised and responded to and the outcomes associated with using different approaches to manage this condition. Perhaps most importantly, we don’t have the experiences, knowledge and expertise of care home workers to understand acute deterioration in the context of care homes. We desperately need to involve care home workers’ and learn from their experiences in order to inform and shape acute deterioration practices in care homes.

Nathalia Céspedes Gómez is a PhD student at the Queen Mary University of London (UK) in the Human Augmentation and Interactive Robotics team. She graduated as a Biomedical Engineer from the Colombian School of Engineering Julio Garavito and received a master degree in Electronics Engineering from the same university. Her work is focused on building human-robot interfaces for rehabilitation scenarios and developing techniques to improve the interaction with users.  Currently, her research involves the development of conversational social agents  for people living with dementia

16th May
2022

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Participatory Design for Human-Robot Interaction in Dementia Reminiscence Therapy.

Nathalia Céspedes Gómez is a PhD student at the Queen Mary University of London (UK) in the Human Augmentation and Interactive Robotics team. She graduated as a Biomedical Engineer from the Colombian School of Engineering Julio Garavito and received a master degree in Electronics Engineering from the same university. Her work is focused on building human-robot interfaces for rehabilitation scenarios and developing techniques to improve the interaction with users. Currently, her research involves the development of conversational social agents for people living with dementia

In this blog I will introduce a research study aimed at involving health care and social care staff in the design of a novel tool to support people living with dementia. Social robotics can be a great tool to support different healthcare scenarios. For instance, social robots are being used in Dementia Reminiscence Therapy (RT) to improve the quality of life and social skills of people living with dementia. Currently, we are developing a human-robot interface to tackle the needs of this population   through conversational methods and cognitive robotics. To build this tool, we believe that integrating the stakeholders of the project (healthcare and social care staff) is essential to increase engagement and promote adherence to the tool. Hence, we are looking for clinicians working in Dementia who want to take part in a Participatory Design Study (PDS). The study will be carried out in two different phases and there will be compensation for the collaboration. We expect to understand the needs of the stakeholders, and therefore, improve the application.

Amy Hunter is a Registered Nurse and an essential care giver for a relative living in a care home in Leeds. Amy has both a personal and professional interest in enhancing the quality of life and care in care homes, and in this blog she shares her thoughts and experience of the NICHE-Leeds Engaged Family and Friends Panel launch.

9th May
2022

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The NICHE-Leeds Engaged Family and Friends Panel launch; increasing family involvement in a care and science partnership

Amy Hunter is a Registered Nurse and an essential care giver for a relative living in a care home in Leeds. Amy has both a personal and professional interest in enhancing the quality of life and care in care homes, and in this blog she shares her thoughts and experience of the NICHE-Leeds Engaged Family and Friends Panel launch.

Nurturing Innovation in Care Homes in Leeds (NICHE-Leeds) is a partnership which aims to enhance the lives of people living or working in (or visiting) care homes (https://niche.leeds.ac.uk/). Commencing in 2018, it is a partnership between the University of Leeds, Westward Care, Springfield Healthcare, Leeds Care Association, and Leeds City Council. NICHE-Leeds replicates a model first developed in the Netherlands (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/news/living-lab-ageing-and-long-term-care-unique-selling-point-um). At the heart of NICHE-Leeds is a belief that all people in care homes should experience quality of care and quality of life. This is challenging but can be addressed through partnership and collaborative working which brings together care providers, scientists and importantly residents and their family and friends. Together questions can be asked, and sustainable solutions offered.

Isabelle Latham is researcher-in-residence at Hallmark Care Homes. She has 25 years experience working with the social care sector, beginning her career as a care worker and moving on to specialise in safeguarding and training frontline care staff. Previous to joining Hallmark Care Homes in 2022, Isabelle led care homes research and education for the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester for 10 years. She gained her PhD in dementia care in 2019, exploring how care workers learned to care for people living with dementia in care homes.

22nd April
2022

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Getting closer to the action: the researcher in residence

Isabelle Latham is researcher-in-residence at Hallmark Care Homes. She has 25 years experience working with the social care sector, beginning her career as a care worker and moving on to specialise in safeguarding and training frontline care staff. Previous to joining Hallmark Care Homes in 2022, Isabelle led care homes research and education for the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester for 10 years. She gained her PhD in dementia care in 2019, exploring how care workers learned to care for people living with dementia in care homes.

This blog describes the new role of “Researcher in Residence” created for Hallmark Care Homes. It was inspired by the successful CHARM research which showed that embedding academic researchers in care homes, working alongside staff and residents to develop their own ideas and projects could help improve research participation and outcomes.

Suzy Webster is the Care Home Network Manager at Age Cymru. She has led on the Tell Me More project over the last 18 months.

28th March
2022

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Tell Me More care home engagement project

Suzy Webster is the Care Home Network Manager at Age Cymru. She has led on the Tell Me More project over the last 18 months.

In this blog Suzy will introduce the Tell Me More engagement project. This project was funded by Welsh Government and aimed to gather insights into the lived experience of care home residents during the Covid-19.

Ann-Marie Towers is a Reader in Social Care at the University of Kent and leads an international programme of research to develop and test the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT), an outcomes measure used internationally in research and evaluation. She is a collaborator for the NIHR Research Design Service South East (RDS-SE), a funding panel member for the NIHR Research for Social Care programme and is on the editorial board for the journal of Primary Health Care Research and Development.

16th March
2022

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How can we improve quality of life at work for the social care workforce?

Ann-Marie Towers is a Reader in Social Care at the University of Kent and leads an international programme of research to develop and test the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT), an outcomes measure used internationally in research and evaluation. She is a collaborator for the NIHR Research Design Service South East (RDS-SE), a funding panel member for the NIHR Research for Social Care programme and is on the editorial board for the journal of Primary Health Care Research and Development.

This blog post discusses the important issue of quality of life at work for the social care workforce. It draws on an NIHR study to begin developing a scale of work-related quality of life for adult social care staff and refers to a Sector Guide, co-produced with members of the public with lived-experience of adult social care and representatives of the social care sector.

Megha Majumder is a PhD candidate in the Palliative and End of Life Care Group at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on end-of-life medicines in relation to a deeply vulnerable population in the UK: care home residents. She is as passionate about quality of death as she is quality of life, and cares a great deal about addressing issues in access to care among marginalized patient groups.

28th February
2022

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Notes on anticipatory prescribing and philosophies of care, a dissertation in the works

Megha Majumder is a PhD candidate in the Palliative and End of Life Care Group at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on end-of-life medicines in relation to a deeply vulnerable population in the UK: care home residents. She is as passionate about quality of death as she is quality of life, and cares a great deal about addressing issues in access to care among marginalized patient groups.

In this guest blog Megha provides us with an update on her previous blog which introduced her care home PhD study.

For my PhD, I’ve focused my research on a very special area within palliative and end of life care – anticipatory prescribing (AP) in care homes. After interviewing more than forty UK-based professionals in health and social care, I’m now writing a few chapters for my dissertation ​chronicling the burdens they experience during the AP process, the bureaucracy and networks inherent to AP, the language that professionals deploy in describing AP to one another (and how that differs when talking to residents and their families), and decision-making at the point of prescribing and administration (as well as the risks that accompany both processes). It has been a wondrous, challenging experience, learning from and writing about the people who not only work in the spaces that so many prefer to not think about, but who go so far beyond the call of duty to see them and their residents improve. I hope that this research can contribute to our understanding of the issues affecting care homes and build an evidence-based foundation upon which policymakers can create solutions.

Hannah is a PhD student at the Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD), University of Manchester. She has also worked as a care assistant in care homes supporting people living with dementia. Her PhD project is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and focuses on improving the communication abilities and wellbeing of residents with dementia and hearing loss.

10th February
2022

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Addressing the Communication needs of Care Home Residents with Hearing Loss and Dementia

Hannah is a PhD student at the Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD), University of Manchester. She has also worked as a care assistant in care homes supporting people living with dementia. Her PhD project is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and focuses on improving the communication abilities and wellbeing of residents with dementia and hearing loss.

This blogpost discusses some of the difficulties experienced by care home residents with hearing loss and dementia and the importance of an individualised, flexible approach. This work is drawn from studies conducted as part of Hannah’s PhD, but is also influenced by experiences when caring for residents with dementia and hearing loss.