Research is carefully controlled, and should always be conducted with respect for participants and as safely as possible. There are many different types of research covering a range of activities, from working in a scientific laboratory to carefully noting patterns of health and experiences of disease and developing new treatments or care practices.
Health and social care research investigates many different problems, from illness, disease, and disability to the way that health and social care services are decided and provided including in Care home settings.
People with dementia and other diseases being cared for in all settings may benefit from research findings and may benefit from research that is currently being carried out.
Health and care professionals know a great deal about health, care, disease, disability and medicines, but much remains uncertain. Research may find answers to the things that are unknown, filling gaps in knowledge and changing the ways that professionals work. This means treatment, care and residents’ quality of life may be improved.
There is a wide range of different types of research into health and care. Much research is carried out in the NHS, but some takes place in universities and research institutes, and in social care services in the private, voluntary and local authority sectors. However, this toolkit focuses on increasing the amount of research in Care homes and encourages more studies to recruit Care home residents.
Research can be paid for by one of a variety of different organisations, and often more than one working in partnership. They include:
However the research is funded, the people who take part in it are protected in the same way. Read more about how studies are regulated on the protecting residents page.
Qualitative & quantitative studies
In simple terms there are two approaches to carrying out research; 'qualitative research’ which uses in-depth interviews, observations, focus groups or questionnaires to collect, analyse and interpret data on what people do and say, and ‘quantitative research’ which seeks to measure outcomes using descriptive and statistical methods to count and measure outcomes from a study. They often get used together in large studies.
Observational studies are a different form of research. In observational studies researchers observe what happens to groups of people. They may involve interviews with Care home residents, their families or staff members ( with their consent of course) and collection of data, like blood pressure or weight.
Trials / intervention studies
There are different types of research to get involved in. Trials can test a drug’s effectiveness in treating a disease, or whether certain therapies are safe to use. These trials are sometimes called ‘intervention studies’. Not all of which involve drugs, they could for example, involve exercise or ‘talking’ therapies.
People who join trials are chosen at random to try the new treatment or therapy, some receive the treatment or therapy and some do not. Both groups are followed up and results compared.
For further information access the NHS Choices website.
Chris Chamber, Care home manager.