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Research with care homes

There are more than twice as many people living in care homes in England and Wales, than there are people staying in hospital. Yet we know far more about effective treatments in hospital and less about what works most effectively to improve care for older people in care homes. Research in care homes is a relatively new and emerging field.

Advancing Care provides an overview of recent NIHR research on improving the health and care of care home residents. It highlights current research taking place now and explores new approaches being developed in this important area.

DOI: 10.3310/themedreview-001931 

Advancing care themed review

Advancing Care - Research with care homes

This review reports on three themes relating to the care of older people in care homes: Living well – maintaining good health and quality of life, ageing well – managing long term conditions associated with ageing, and dying well – ensuring a good quality end of life.

It features:

  • 23 published studies
  • 21 ongoing studies
  • Quotes from care home owners, managers, staff and researchers
  • Where next for care home research?



people live in care homes (approximately) - 4% of the population aged 65 years and over, rising to 16% of those aged 85 or more. 


of people in a study of care homes had lived in one for more than three years.


of care homes are registered as providers of specialist dementia care.

  • Research can help care homes to support residents to live well, age well and to achieve a comfortable and dignified death. There is more to be done, but this report shows how research is addressing some of the real challenges for those working and living in homes.

    Professor Martin J Vernon

    National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care, NHS England

  • Practice is enriched when it is underpinned by research and evidence. This research should be shaped and informed by the voices of people who use services and be of genuine relevance to the care homes.

    Sharon Blackburn

    Policy & Communications Director, National Care Forum

  • The themed review is shinning a spotlight on one of the most exciting areas of research. The provision of high quality evidence for staff working in and with care homes is essential in planning, teaching and delivering care. This accessible document will be well received by nurses and other health and social care staff alike. Do read it!

    Dawne Garrett,

    Professional Lead Older People and Dementia Care, Royal College of Nursing

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