There is not enough research that is carried out with people who live in care homes. This is a problem because it means we are not finding out how best to improve their health and wellbeing. In addition, many of the big health and care challenges of today, such as ageing and dementia, would benefit from research in the residential setting.
In this study we looked at the applications to research ethics committees asking for permission to carry out research in care homes. We showed that the amount of research is low, and that most of it was about residents’ wellbeing, COVID-19, and how care homes are managed. Most of the studies involved participants who potentially might not be able to give consent to be involved in the research, raising important ethical and legal concerns.
We also sought to understand what issues research ethics committees raised about this sort of research. The main ‘high level’ issues were around how participants agreed to take part in the research, care and respect for residents during the study and afterwards, and the social and scientific benefit that might come from the study. More detailed issues were identified that are specific for research in care homes. This information should help researchers understand what they need to consider when designing their studies.
Allen C. and George A.J.T.
Ethical issues in care research: an analysis,
Nursing and Residential Care, February 2023,
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