Current research: What’s it like for older adults to live in a care home?

We are delighted to have been awarded funding from The Hallmark Foundation to conduct a UK-wide research project on the experiences of living in residential care, from the perspectives of older people and those who care for them.

15 care homes across England, Scotland and Wales are taking part in the research.

We will be conducting research interviews with each care home from October-December 2023, speaking with four different groups – older people living in residential care homes, relatives, care teams, and care home managers.

Through the project we hope to:

  • Understand the resistances to and benefits of moving into a residential care home.
  • Recognise the perceptions and expectations that older people and their relatives have of care homes before and after a move.
  • Identify the things that helped or hindered a successful move into a care home.
  • Identify the psychosocial wellbeing benefits of living in a care home.
  • Highlight best practice in helping older people feel at home in a care home.
  • Notice and highlight the ways in which older people are best able to find self-expression, autonomy and social connection within their residence at a care home.

This research offers a unique opportunity to hear the often-unrepresented voices of older people who live in care homes across the UK. Remarkably, research of this kind has not previously been undertaken on this scale!

From this research we hope to be able to create a significant data set, which could be used as the foundation for future research analysis, and could also be used to attract funding to develop this into the first national qualitative longitudinal cohort study of care home voices.

The research project is supported by a Residential Care Experiences Advisory Group, including representation from the CQC, an older person living in care home, family carers, a care home manager, academic researchers, Hallmark Foundation trustees and others.

We intend to share outcomes of the project widely in 2024 and beyond, so please watch this space!