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New Support for Care Home Research – Meeting Prime Ministers Dementia 2020 vision

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New Support for Care Home Research – Meeting Prime Ministers Dementia 2020 vision

Adam Smith

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Enabling Research in Care Homes (ENRICH) Programme has today launched the latest update to its highly regarded care home research toolkit. Since its launch in 2011 the toolkit has attracted over 35,000 users and this latest version updates guidance and includes new features such as a community blog, online training tool and information on funding opportunities. Support for care home research is also being boosted by the addition of Community Integrated Care, one of Britain’s largest social care charities, to the ENRICH Programme, and a new care home research funding call from the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (HS&DR).

Archive Item

Friday 11th December 2015

‚ÄúIn four years ENRICH has gone from being a good idea to indispensable for care home research in the UK. The ENRICH toolkit and network  helps to ensure proposed research  is wanted, feasible, and completed in partnership with care homes staff, recruitment targets are met and that the care of older people is improved and not compromised when their care home take part in studies.‚Äù Claire Goodman, Professor Health Care Research, Deputy Director East of England CLAHRC, University of Hertfordshire.

“ENRICH has gone from a standing start four years ago Рwhen some academics were suspicious of it Рto being a useful aid to researchers. For example, it made the study of the prevalence of vision loss in people with dementia possible, assisting with recruitment and liaising closely with the research team to overcome problems.” Steve Iliffe, Emeritus Professor of Primary care for Older People, University College London.

Over the past three years there has been an increased focus from dementia research funders on improving care, particularly in Care and Nursing Homes. A significant growth since the Ministerial Advisory Group for Dementia Research published a report in June 2011 recommending that the government improve consistency of support provided for research outside the NHS, and take steps to address care home residents being under-represented in research. One of the driving forces behind this growth has been the NIHR ENRICH Programme.

Jill Manthorpe, Professor of Social Work, Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London  has played a significant role in shaping ENRICH  ‚ÄúIn the four years since ENRICH started there has been growing interest in people living in care homes with dementia. We know more about them and how to support them better. Research has helped to inspire the sector that care can be good, and that residents can be better supported. From a situation where care homes and their residents were often excluded from research to the current time where there is much more going on – dementia research has benefitted hugely and in doing so the care home sector is being treated more professionally by others.‚Äù

The ENRICH Toolkit is just one part of the NIHR support for research engaging residents and care homes. The NIHR ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network has over 1,000 participants and is catalyst for bring researchers together with care home staff and residents to recruit to studies and improve feasibility. Victoria Elliott, Principle Care Consultant, Orders of St John Care Trust  ‚ÄúToday, we have a much greater awareness of how poorly care home residents are represented in research – and of the prize,  if we can improve on this. Although the pressures on homes have not abated in recent years, care teams have a genuine commitment to support such research wherever possible, recognising the value of participating for themselves, residents and their families. This website and network provides care homes with an opportunity to provide their own perspectives on the challenges and benefits of engaging in research, and thus ensure that it addresses their specific needs‚Äù.

The network is today receiving a fantastic boost from Community Integrated Care, and the 5000+ people with learning disabilities, mental health concerns, autism, and age-related needs which it supports. By signing up to the ENRICH programme, the charity’s 25 care homes across England and Scotland will  participate in research that will enhance both its own provision and the wider care home sector. Martin McGuigan, Director of Quality and Innovation at Community Integrated Care, says ‚ÄúCommunity Integrated Care has set itself an ambitious strategy, with the vision of becoming the UK’s Leading Health and Social Care. This aims to not only deliver the highest standards of support in our services, but to also help shape a better care sector. By signing up to the ENRICH programme, and partnering with researchers from across the UK, we will be taking a significant step in making our bold ambitions a reality.‚Äù 

Professor Martin Rossor, NIHR National Director for Dementia Research, says: ‚ÄúWe are delighted to be working with Community Integrated Care.  This partnership will provide improve access to research, and help ensure that the government’s recent investment into care home research can the delivered effectively, for the benefit of this charitable organisation and its residents. Around 280,000 people with dementia live in Care Homes, and we want to ensure that all those residents have an equal opportunity to participate in research, and to ensure that research addresses everyone’s needs.‚Äù

The NIHR HS&DR Programme has announced a new funding call that will see more care home research being delivered. The ‘Improving quality of care in care homes by care home staff’ call will support new research to help commissioners ensure that the best care models are used and that new effective tools are developed to measure services and to inform planning and organisation of care.           

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research Programme Director, says: ‚ÄúProviding rigorous and timely information to commissioners and healthcare providers in care homes about organisation, delivery and costs of services is essential to giving people the best quality of care possible. Care homes provide a complex mix of care and are an essential part of NHS provision. Commissioners 

of services need tools and measures to decide how best to organise services and interventions for the different client groups in care homes. The HS&DR programme funds research on quality, access and organisation of health services. It is focused on research to support decisions by frontline managers and clinical leaders on the appropriateness, quality and cost-effectiveness of care keeping patients and the public at the centre of what we do”

The Prime Minister’s 2020 vision for dementia called for the majority of care homes to be signed up to ENRICH. To improve care and service for these residents it is essential that research studies into care of dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s and other areas affecting older people is delivered.

The ENRICH programme hopes that more care homes will join the 1000 already registered, to ensure that the 386,000 people living in care homes, can quickly benefit from new research.

For further information visit or email Adam Smith, Programme Manager, Office for the NIHR National Director for Dementia Research, University College London –