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New paper: Quality of life in care homes – comparing office hours with out-of-office hours

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New paper: Quality of life in care homes – comparing office hours with out-of-office hours

A new paper published by researchers at the University of Kent has compared the social care-related quality of life (SCRQoL) of residents in older adult care homes during office hours (0900 to 16.30) with outside of office hours (evenings and weekends).

Monday 11th November 2019

The research team led by Nick Smith from the Personal Social Services Research Unit conducted a nested, cross-sectional study, collecting SCRQoL data using the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit at two time points, office hours (Monday-Friday between 9.00 and 16.30) and outside of office hours. Data were collected for 99 older adult care home residents in 13 care homes (5 residential and 8 nursing) and analysed using a combination of non-parametric and parametric techniques.

The paper reports that SCRQoL ratings were lower during the weekends and early evenings than during office hours. The differences were most pronounced in the higher order domains of social participation, occupation and control over daily life.

Although the paper notes that further research is needed, the authors suggest that this study challenges the traditional model of care, in which social activities and meaningful pastimes are mostly organised during ‘office hours’.  They observed evenings that were very short, as residents tended to return to their room shortly after dinner, and quiet weekends, and this was reflected in residents’ quality of life. This is contrary to the rhetoric of care homes being people’s own homes, where they would be able to choose to remain active and engaged into the evening and on the weekends, as they may have done throughout their lives.

The full paper is available through the Journal of Long-term Care.