Support in carrying out research in Care Homes

Carrying out research in Care Homes is a vital process in ageing research, as this population is at-risk of being isolated from opportunities to be involved. 

With an ageing population only set to increase in coming years, Care Homes play a vital role in supporting and caring for older people, and are an essential partner in the delivery of research yet Care Homes are often excluded.

ENRICH Cymru will organise the joining up of Care Home staff, residents and researchers to facilitate the delivery of research to improve the lives of staff and residents in Care Homes across Wales.

The aim of ENRICH Cymru is to improve the lives of residents and staff in Care Homes across Wales by developing and facilitating a network of ‘research ready’ Care Homes promoting the exchange of research ideas and knowledge, and foster the co-creation of research relevant to the current issues in the Care Home sector. Care Homes and Researchers across Wales will be invited to join the network to provide more opportunities for new and innovative research projects to be carried out.

The network will be able to provide:

  • Advice and support on overcoming the challenges in delivering research in Care Homes
  • Support with identification of Care Homes and residents to support studies
  • Regular updates about the latest developments in Care Home Research and Development

ENRICH Cymru aims to increase the amount of research conducted in Care Homes, and improve access to research for residents and staff

Why work with Care Homes?

There are five key reasons why carrying out research in Care Homes is vital:

  • Improves quality of life

People in Care Homes and their families want to be involved in research to improve quality of life and quality of care. Collaboration with Care Homes can provide opportunities to work with residents who are at a particular stage in their illness.

  • The environment and population in Care Homes

Many people with neurodegenerative disorders and health issues live in Care Homes. This community can be easy to access and supportive of research.

  • Improving access to research

Care Home residents are under-represented in clinical research, opening access to these studies can improve recruitment.

  • Provides evidence and guides best practice

Because residents are under-represented in research, there are some areas where the evidence to support best practice is weak. This lack of evidence provides opportunities to develop new research.

  • Raises the standards

Research evidence is instrumental in helping raise the standards of care in Care Homes. For example one study provided training and support for Care Home staff and as a result it reduced neuroleptic use in residents with dementia by 50% without worsening behavioural symptoms.

Please visit for useful resources when designing and carrying out research in Care Homes. 

Lessons in carrying out Care Home Research - from a Researcher's perspective

Cardiff University 

Researchers at Cardiff University explored stakeholders’ views about the ethical and practical challenges associated with recruiting care home residents into research studies. Important lessons and considerations to take into account are detailed from this study, using interviews with care home residents, their relatives, and general practitioners, and focus groups with care home staff.

Interviews focused on the issues of older adults consenting to research in care homes, including advanced consent, in general and through reference to a particular study on the use of probiotics to prevent Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea.

Data were analysed using a thematic approach incorporating themes that had been identified in advance, and themes derived from the data. Researchers discussed evidence for themes, and reached consensus on the final themes. Click here for the full paper. 

Swansea University

Caitlin Reid, BSc in Psychology from the University of Reading and an MSc in Psychiatry from Cardiff University, started a PhD at the Centre for Innovative Ageing in July 2016. The research ‘Understanding and Improving the Mental Well-being of Older Adults in Residential Care’ is funded by the Healthcare Management Trust and supervised by Dr Charles Musselwhite and Dr Michael Coffey.

Click here to read about Caitlin's experience carrying out research in Care Homes and some lessons learned along the way. 

Bangor University 

Dr Carys Jones holds a PhD in Health Economics from Bangor University. After completing her PhD on quality of life measurement for family carers of people with dementia, Carys has remained at the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME) and has worked on several projects aligned to her primary research interests of dementia and aging. Click here to read about Carys's experience in planning research in Care Homes and some lessons learned along the way. 


Check back here reguarly to this page for more case studies with Researchers in the field, with take-home messages. Follow @EnrichCymru on twitter for regular updates.