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The Inaugural Symposium of the BSG Care Homes Research Special Interest Group

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The Inaugural Symposium of the BSG Care Homes Research Special Interest Group

The British Society of Gerontology are pleased to announce that their free online symposium (originally scheduled to be part of the British Society of Gerontology’s conference in Bristol) will now run through Zoom from 9am-11am on Thursday 2nd July.

Monday 22nd June 2020

Symposium Overview

“The BSG Care Homes Research Special Interest Group (SIG) evolved from ideas shared between delegates at the BSG Conference in Liverpool in 2019. Under the leadership of an enthusiastic committee, the SIG took shape during the autumn of 2019 and now brings together academics, practitioners and other stakeholders with a common interest in care home research. The SIG aims to strengthen research, policy, and practice in all areas of care homes research, including those related to staff, residents, family members and carers, as well as the home environment, and its links with external organisations.  It aims to provide platforms for discussion and debate; facilitate the development of research collaborations and funding proposals; increase research capacity; promote methodological development around the novel challenges in care homes research; and support the dissemination and application of research findings to improve the lives of residents, carers and other stakeholders.

This inaugural Care Home Research SIG symposium reflects these aims, providing an opportunity to hear about and discuss a range of exciting research studies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and collaborations that all serve to enhance the quality of life in care homes. We will also be considering how research in care homes can best be supported In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


  • Presentation: Partnership working in Care Homes Research: the role of the SIG. (Professor Christine Brown Wilson, Queens University, Belfast).
  • Presentation: Volunteer-led Behavioural Activation for treatment of depression in care homes. (Associate Professor Christina Bryant, University of Melbourne).
  • Presentation: Sativex® for the Treatment of AgitatioN in Dementia (STAND trial) – a feasibility study. (Chris Albertyn, Kings College London).
  • Presentation: How can we best support the care home community through research: Developing a research network for care homes in Wales. (Stephanie Green, Swansea University).
  • Moderated discussion of the following questions:
    • What do you want from the Care Homes Research SIG?
    • Care home research post-Covid-19: What infrastructure and mechanisms are needed to support care homes research during and after the Covid-19 pandemic?’

** If you are not already a member of the Care Homes Research SIG, and would like to be, then please email and I will add you to our mailing list**

 Presentation Abstracts

Volunteer-led Behavioural Activation for treatment of depression in care homes: Associate Professor Christina Bryant, University of Melbourne.

Objectives: Symptoms of depression are highly prevalent and undertreated in residential aged care facilities/care homes. Behavioural activation is a simple, cost-effective psychosocial intervention that might be appropriate to help reduce depression and improve well-being in this setting. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of an eight-week, volunteer-led behavioural activation intervention designed for depressed RACF residents.

Methods: This feasibility study employed a single-arm design, where outcomes were measured at baseline, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. RACF residents with depressive symptoms and healthy volunteers were invited to participate. Intervention feasibility was assessed on six a priori determined domains. Depression, anxiety and flourishing were included as outcomes using intention-to-treat analysis.

Results: Seventeen residents with depressive symptoms and 13 volunteers were successfully recruited within the expected six-month timeframe. Both residents and volunteers were satisfied with the intervention (7/8), and there was a high (87%) completion rate. The intervention was associated with a large and statistically significant reduction in resident depressive symptoms, d = – 1.14, with the effect increasing to d = 2.82 when comparing baseline to 3-month follow-up.

Conclusions: This 8-week volunteer led behavioural activation intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable to depressed RACF residents. The intervention was effective in ameliorating depression. A larger randomized controlled trial is warranted.

Sativex® for the Treatment of AgitatioN in Dementia (STAND trial) – a feasibility study: Chris Albertyn, Kings College London.

People living with dementia often experience a myriad of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Anxiety and agitation are highly common within BPSD, negatively impacting their health, accelerating dementia progression, and are distressing both to patients and those caring for them. They also cost society a great deal, with increased hospitalisations, cost of care and earlier institutionalisation. Unfortunately, current treatments for these symptoms do not work very well and have a lot of unwanted side-effects. Recently, cannabis-based medicinal products have emerged as potentially safer alternative candidates for agitation as they display effective anti-nausea, anti-anxiety and analgesic properties. However, there is little systematic and robust evidence support these encouraging early reports. Moreover, we specifically hope to investigate Sativex®, administered as an oral-spray, containing 50% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 50% cannabidiol (CBD) for agitation in dementia. This combination is particularly pertinent as THC reduces pain, anxiety and sleep disturbances; and CBD reduces delusions and hallucinations.

We will be conducting a mixed-methods, randomised, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial, recruiting 60 people with dementia displaying behavioural symptoms from nursing homes, with the aim to assess the safety, feasibility & acceptability within a nursing home context, and estimate the effectiveness of Sativex® for agitation in dementia.

How can we best support the care home community through research: Developing a research network for care homes in Wales: Stephanie Green, Swansea University.

This presentation will provide an overview of the ENRICH network in the Welsh context, with a particular focus on empowering the care home community to be part of research during a pandemic. Some of the opportunities, challenges and impact of the current pandemic for supporting research in care homes will be highlighted, followed by an invitation to discuss these issues further.

The pan-Wales Enabling Research in Care Homes (ENRICH Cymru) network is affiliated with the regional ENRICH networks in England and Scotland, in development since 2012. ENRICH Cymru was developed in 2018 in response to a growing momentum to better support and involve the care home community in Wales to be part of the research agenda, and ultimately to benefit from more research opportunities.

The network in Wales promotes the exchange of research ideas and knowledge, and fosters the co-creation of research relevant to the current issues in the Care Home sector. Above all, ENRICH Cymru considers Care home managers and staff as the experts in research. This presentation comes at a critical point in time for the care home community and would welcome discussions around how care homes can be better supported to be part of research.”

Registration/Attendance details:

This symposium will take place through Zoom. Please register to attend through our Eventbrite link

The Zoom link and password will then be sent to registrants the day before the symposium.