In this guest blog from Enabling research in Care Homes (ENRICH) Scotland, we find out more about the work of the organisation and how they are working with care homes to increase representation in research. This blog is taken from the SDRC Annual Report, which you can read in full here.
Improving the lives and health of people living in care homes is a major priority, but care home residents are generally underrepresented in research studies. Enabling Research in Care Homes (ENRICH) aims to change this by strengthening support for research outside the NHS. It aims to raise the profile of research studies to benefit care home residents, their families and those that care for them across Scotland. It also supports the planning and delivery of this research. ENRICH has received its core funding from Chief Scientist Office (CSO) since April 2021.
ENRICH Scotland has increased research capacity in Scottish care homes by supporting study recruitment and acting as specialist advisors to researchers unfamiliar with care home research but designing studies for this environment.
ENRICH have supported 36 study teams (26 based in Scotland and 10 in England) from 19 Universities across the UK. Of the 36 study teams we have been approached to support; they have offered:
- Scoping for interest from care homes on the research interest register to assist with funding applications
- Recruitment into studies
- Advice on specific aspects of study development to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Sourcing of care home staff and residents into advisory or PPI panels
- Support with study development, recruitment, analysis and write-up
“You have been fantastically helpful – I think we would have been really stuck without you to be honest.” Marianne Cranwell, University of Dundee
For year 2022-2023 we have:
- Expanded the team of clinical studies officers from four to nine
- Expanded the network of care homes that are research ready from 100 in December 2021 to 177 as of 1st March 2023.
- Rolled out a certified process of recognition for all research ready care homes that is endorsed by the Care Inspectorate.
- Developed and issued a monthly newsletter to all research ready care homes in Scotland, which shares details of research opportunities in accessible language and disseminates publications, webinars and learning resources from research teams that involved care home staff and/or residents.
- Shared information on research in accessible ways that reach care home staff, residents and relatives via a blog and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter).
- Developed and secured funding for the first ENRICH Scotland research study in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University
- Expanded the Patient and Public Involvement group to 25 members. The group is now called Research in Care Homes (RICH) Voices, with a salaried lead in place.
- Organised and held the first ENRICH Scotland conference, with over half of the attendees current employees of care homes.
- Continued to deliver a Care Home-Specific Research Forum which offers tailored peer support to researchers and care home practitioners at all stages of their research careers, with involvement from PhD students, early career researchers and senior academics.
- Wrote and published a guide specifically for care home staff in collaboration with Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) on research involvement in care homes (available here: https://www.iriss.org.uk/resources/reports/care-home-research)
- Raised the profile of care home research in Scotland by recording a podcast with IRISS FM (available here: https://podcast.iriss.org.uk/enrich-scotland-supporting-research-in-care-homes)
With subsequent funding from the Chief Scientist Office, the ENRICH Scotland team plan to prioritise the support of recruitment of care home residents and staff to relevant studies and continue to offer individualised assessment of support to research teams that are considering involving Scottish care home staff, residents and/or relatives.
If you would like more information about ENRICH Scotland, visit https://www.nhsresearchscotland.org.uk/research-in-scotland/facilities/enrich
If you are an organisation or individual who is involved in brain health or dementia research in Scotland and would like to write a blog for the SDRC please get in touch!