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Update on research

Andrea Fisher

Recent activity in the research field affecting the care home environment includes prioritising research, a study investigating if probiotics can reduce infections and looking at the issue of consent for research involving people lacking mental capacity.

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Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Prioritising research in the care home environment

A recently published article shares results of a study looking at identifying the priorities for future research on care provided for older people in care homes. 15 research questions were selected that covered topics on person-centred care, dignity, appropriate staffing levels, and staff training and support. These included:

  • How can person-centred care be provided in care homes appropriate to the person’s individualised needs?
  • How can dignity be enhanced for residents in care home settings?
  • How can early and appropriate discussion with older people in care homes about end-of-life care be supported?
  • What is the public and media perception of care homes compared with other care settings, and what is the impact on care home staff attitudes?

The researchers hope that sharing these results with clinicians, researchers and funding bodies will help to begin the process of ensuring that the future research agenda can be focused on the areas of greatest need.

The full open-access article can be read on Oxford Journals’ Age & Ageing website:

Establishing a set of research priorities in care homes for older people in the UK: a modified Delphi consensus study with care home staff

Can probiotics reduce infections in care home residents?

A large interventional study is currently being set up to trial whether a combination of certain probiotics can prevent infections in care homes. With care home residents prescribed far more antibiotics than the general population, researchers will explore if taking probiotics can reduce the prescribing of antibiotics. The study, called PRINCESS (Probiotic to Reduce Infections iN CarE home reSidentS), is recruiting 330 care home residents in Wales and England into the trial. The study is being run by Cardiff University together with University of Oxford, and is being led by Professor Chris Butler.

More about this study can be read on Cardiff University’s website:

Probiotic to Reduce Infections iN CarE home reSidentS (PRINCESS) study

Consent for research

A recent NIHR Fellowship has been awarded to look at consent for research involving people lacking mental capacity. This project will include:

  • carrying out a systematic review of other research on the topic
  • a survey of healthcare professionals’ understanding of proxy consent
  • a qualitative study with family/friends/carers
  • developing a decision support tool that is suitable to be used by families and friends to support decisions made about taking part in research or not.

This study aims to enable and support more research involving people with conditions such as dementia and stroke.

For more information please contact Victoria Shepherd Research Associate – Nurse, at Cardiff University