ENRICHEnabling Research in Care Homes
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.
Care relationships between support staff and adults with a learning disability
Georgios has studied Psychology specialising in Health and Social Psychology. Georgios has worked as a support worker in social care and healthcare settings for about a decade, supporting and learning from people with learning disabilities, mental health difficulties, and other groups. Georgios started a full-time PhD in Applied Psychology in February 2021 after being awarded an NIHR School for Social Care Research doctoral scholarship.
In this blog, I discuss my ongoing study which is currently recruiting participants. The study is part of a PhD project exploring care relationships between support staff and adults and older adults with a learning disability (intellectual disability) in long-term social care residential settings in England. In this study, we are interested in hearing support staff’s thoughts on what makes their relationships with the people they support positive, how positive relationships are established and what impact they have on people’s lives, what factors can facilitate or hinder good care relationships, and other related topics.
What are the unmet mental health needs of paid and unpaid carers?
Dr Clarissa Giebel, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool & NIHR ARC NWC
In this blog I introduce a new study exploring the unmet mental health needs of paid and unpaid carers.
Paid and unpaid carers caring for people with dementia or older adults don’t seem to receive enough support. Most carers had reported unmet needs before the pandemic, but the pandemic seems to have only increased carers’ needs. What we don’t know yet fully is how paid, and unpaid, carers can access mental health support, and how much they need this since COVID-19. What’s more, what are some of the inequalities that carers are facing when trying to access care, if they do at all? We are currently conducting an NIHR-funded study, and are particularly keen to talk to care home and paid home care staff about their experiences.
Was it a fair test of the complex intervention? Lessons from a systematic review of how contextual factors influence research processes in care homes
Dr Guy Peryer is part of the study team Developing resources And minimum data set for Care Homes Adoption [DACHA]. The study is funded by the NIHR HS&DR programme and supported by NIHR Applied Research Collaboration - East of England. Guy’s background is Human Factors, Applied Psychology, and Systems Engineering. He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Chartered Scientist working as a research fellow for the NIHR ARC East of England.
Care homes are challenging settings to carry out research trials. To identify reliable evidence that an intervention is effective requires the intervention to be delivered as intended across multiple care homes. This is especially difficult because there is so much variety between care home environments and care home organisations.
In the UK between 2012-2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Research awarded over £8.5million to carry out care home research trials. The interventions in these trials showed no effect (neutral findings).
To explore these results further we studied a collection of ‘process evaluations’ that occurred in parallel to the main trials. Process evaluations account for how the intervention was delivered and consider the viewpoints of the people involved, such as staff, residents, and visiting care professionals. By studying a collection of process evaluations, we aimed to identify factors that the research trials had in common that played a part in enabling them to run smoothly, and factors that acted as a barrier to successful completion.
We published our results in an open access paper and produced a summary leaflet to help ensure research trials in care homes have their best chance of being completed successfully. The foldable leaflet is available to download here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.