Can networks of research active care homes for older people be created and sustained?
Iliffe , Steve
Manthorpe , Jill
Smith , Adam
Background: In the UK care homes are one of the main providers of long term care for older people with dementia. Despite the recent increase in care home research, residents with dementia are often excluded (Gordon et al, 2012). Networks of research enabled care homes may increase recruitment of people with dementia (MAGDR, 2009). Internationally, comparable networks of nursing homes focus on education and training. The ENRICH research network is an England wide initiative to promote care home participation in research. Methods: The ENRICH care home network was piloted in four regions of England. An evaluation was commissioned to assess the impact of the networks and describe the implementation process. A mixed method approach was used: •Phase 1 mapped current care home involvement in research across England using online searches, interviews with researchers and care home staff •Phase 2 evaluated the impact of the networks on recruitment to studies, staff engagement, and costs. Results: Thirty three out of 42 research studies identified were confirmed as including care homes (January 2011 to June 2012). Their research focus, methods and numbers varied considerably. Care homes were recruited to the research networks through corporate engagement and individual invitation. Recruitment costs were calculated for individual networks. Care home managers were keen to be involved in research, especially if it provided support for staff or direct benefits for residents. Conclusion: Care home research networks have the potential to increase recruitment to research studies and develop partnerships between health care services and care home providers.