The ExCHANGE project is all about exchanging and mobilising knowledge between researchers and those working, living in and visiting care homes. Our collaboration is made up of researchers, care home providers and family members exploring ways to use research to improve care home practice. We’ve co-designed workshops for care staff about how to use evidence to inform their practice alongside workshops to help researchers make sense of care homes in their work. We want to breakdown long-standing academic hierarchies to get care home stakeholders and researchers working together on an equal footing, with the ultimate aim of enhancing quality of life in care homes.
We’ve realised there’s a real issue of fragmentation across the care sector
Through our work, however, we’ve realised there’s a real issue of fragmentation across the care sector, noticing that valuable knowledge about improving practice often isn’t shared between care homes. Yet, despite recognising this, we, as researchers who are interested in residential care, are also guilty of the same fragmentation in the academic world. It’s often hard to know what other research projects are going on, and sometimes potentially exciting future collaborative opportunities are completely missed simply because of researchers’ tendency to work within our own bubbles and not communicate our work to each other. The pandemic and jump into remote working has only served to further exaggerate the fragmented nature of our work.
So, we at ExCHANGE have carried out some investigative work. In the hope of weaving the fragments back together we have contacted academics and researchers across PenARC to formulate a list of current research projects which have care homes as their focus. So far we’ve identified a total of twenty-four projects. The research is wide-ranging, from exploring the effects of robopets on residents’ health and wellbeing, to investigating the use of antipsychotic medications on residents with dementia. There’s a huge variety of much-needed, pioneering care home research going on.
To inspire and encourage innovative future collaborations between academics and practitioners we’re sharing this project list as widely as possible. We believe that by connecting and collaborating with other researchers in the field. Together we can work towards producing critical and timely research to move us closer towards our shared goal of improving the health and wellbeing of those working, living in and visiting care homes.
Find the lists here
Get in touch if you’re aware of other care home projects at PenARC that we haven’t captured in this list, and of course if you see anything that connects to your own work or research interests that could lead to future collaborations, please do make those connections a reality.
A realist evaluation of a collaborative model to support research co-production in long-term care settings in England: the ExCHANGE protocolRead the publication
About the authors
Chloe works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter’s College of Medicine and Health, as part of the Exeter Care Homes and Knowledge (ExCHANGE) Collaboration. This exciting PenARC research project focuses on the wellbeing and happiness of older people living in care homes and is supported by funding from the Alzheimer’s Society and Dunhill Medical Trust.