COVID-19 has understandably brought research in care homes to a halt. Many of our award-holders were working with residents and staff in care homes on a whole array of important research to address relevant and current challenges.
Three of those projects are co-funded with the Alzheimer’s Society to explore novel ways in which researchers can work collaboratively with care homes. Putting the staff and residents in the “driving seat”, alongside researchers, aims to ensure that the research addresses challenges in practical and accessible ways and leads to practical and scaleable solutions to improve care.
In the first of a series we’re pulling together to share the experiences of our researchers in lockdown, we feature CHARM, one of these three co-funded projects, which is based at the University of Worcester and involves partnership with four care-home providers active locally. The CHARM team ground their approach in the observation that previous approaches to engaging care homes in research have often run into difficulties with engagement, data collection, and poor adherence to interventions. They see these difficulties as arising because of two things: lack of consideration of resources needed and of the capacity of care homes to support research processes; and a failure to engage in true collaboration that leaves staff feeling researched ‘on’ rather than ‘with’ and neglects meaningful resident and family engagement.
The CHARM team see COVID-19 as just another challenge to overcome and worked closely with the care homes in their study to produce a contingency plan to allow the project to continue for as long as possible and to re-start when it is safe to do so. In this piece, they share their experiences.