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Research Ready

Improving the lives and health of older people living in care homes is a major UK government priority. The Enabling Research in Care Homes (ENRICH) initiative and Research Ready Care Home Network aim to help make this happen, and to improve the consistency of support for research outside the NHS.

Written by care home staff and researchers, our case studies provide real life examples of challenges and lessons learned by those involved in research. They help describe how others have approached particular challenges, such as acquiring consent, involving care home managers and gaining staff buy-in.
The studies also illustrate the short-term and long-term benefits to care homes and help staff to understand what is involved.

Links to organisations, resources and other useful information.

There is a place in the Network for all care homes interested in becoming involved in the support and delivery of research.

Use the links below to navigate this section of the ENRICH site

Introduction Research Ready Care Home Network Understanding the Network

1. Research Ready Care Home Network

The network brings together care home staff, residents and researchers to facilitate the design and delivery of research. This hopes to improve the quality of life, treatments and care for all residents.

Getting involved can potentially lead to benefits for your residents, staff and your business. For example it can:

  • Provide stimulation as residents take part in new activities or have someone new to talk to.
  • Give back control to residents, allowing them to feel like they are contributing to the future.
  • Stimulate residents to take an increased interest in their own health and wellbeing.
  • Lead to professional development opportunities for staff.
  • Enable care home staff to learn of new developments, which can contribute to the home’s business and marketing plans.
  • Encourage researchers and funders to address issues that are of interest to care homes such as symptom management, or end-of-life care.
  • Improve contact between care homes and other local health and care services.
  • Provide an effective voice for residents, families and staff whose views may have been previously unheard.

The Research Ready Care Home Network provides opportunities for care homes and residents to become involved in local and national research studies. Longer term the Network will help researchers understand the challenges and solutions around increasing research activity in care homes, and identify better ways of working with existing care home systems to ease study delivery.


“I’m really pleased with our increased accrual (recruitment) to the PrOVIDe study, and I think this is due largely to the structured framework for engaging with care homes that working with the ENRICH project has provided. It’s given our network an identity and a toolkit specific to the needs of care homes, and they are willing to help recruit to the study as a result.”

Juniper West, Senior Research Nurse, East Anglia DeNDRoN

2. Understanding the Network

All care homes interested in supporting research can join the Research Ready Care Home Network. Being involved in research and participating in the network can be as simple as distributing information about research studies, or as involved as helping to deliver part of a project. Involvement can be planned around the needs and interests of your residents and the time you have available. Joining is free, and means you become a part of a research community bringing about more care home research.

Joining the network will mean you:

  • Receive a certificate of participation.
  • Receive a quarterly newsletter and research promotional materials.
  • Receive information on national and local studies that could be relevant to your care home, staff, residents or family carers – and have an opportunity to support and become involved in those studies.
  • Receive education / training helping to prepare you to become involved in research and to understand what being involved can mean.
  • Join a local forum, which will provide you with the opportunity to make contact with local researchers working in a variety of disease areas, providing them with a care home and resident perspective and having the chance to influence future research.
  • Receive ongoing support to enable integration into the Network.

What you need to do to join:

  • Specify a named contact and complete relevant paperwork.
  • Generally promote NIHR research through literature distribution, displaying posters, hosting awareness sessions etc. as agreed.
  • Review all requests for support for research studies, and consider how you, your care home and residents could contribute.
  • Working with the network to ‘get ready’ to support future studies.
  • Join the ENRICH Local Network Care Home forum. This could involve attending occasional meetings, taking part in surveys and focus groups and so on.
  • Be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or Care Inspectorate (CI) in Scotland.
  • Be passionate about improving the lives of residents.

There is a place in the Network for all care homes interested in becoming involved in the support and delivery of research.

“By being Research Ready, we have been able to talk to researchers, and make sure that they understand how care homes really work. We gave real advice that we hope has made the difference”

Ideal Quality Care and Nursing Home, October 2015