Exchanging knowledge with independent care homes in Exeter

Research project: The Exeter Care Homes and Knowledge Collaboration (ExCHANGE)

Lead Investigator: Dr Iain Lang

  • Institution: University of Exeter 
  • Grant type: Care Collaboration Grant 
  • Duration: 18 months 
  • Amount: £99,074

Why did we fund this research?

Research in care homes can often feel like it is carried out ‘on’ staff and residents rather than ‘with’ them.

Alzheimer’s Society, in partnership with Dunhill Medical Trust, have funded three grants to test different models for researchers to work in partnership with care homes to design and carry out research collaboratively.

This novel way of working will make sure research addresses challenges that are relevant to professionals and people living with dementia.

It also ensures the solutions developed are practical and can be used on a larger scale. These projects will collaborate and share learning with the wider care home and research community. 

What does the project involve? 

ExCHANGE is a collaboration between organisations in Devon and the South-West Peninsula concerned with the care and happiness of care home residents. The collaboration includes the University of Exeter, the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration for the South-West Peninsula (PenARC), the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) and the Devon Care Kite Mark (DCKM). DCKM is a group of over 50 independent care providers. 

Working together, they will identify priorities for research based on the specific issues that care homes are experiencing and will co-design research projects.

The organisations will support those living and working in the care home to engage with and understand research by running ‘making sense of evidence’ workshops. They will also help researchers to understand more about the realities of day to day practice in care homes through ‘making sense of care homes’ workshops.

Researchers will be based in care homes to share the latest evidence-based learnings from research so it can be put into practice.

 How will this benefit people with dementia? 

The organisations involved in the collaboration have been working together on an ad hoc basis. This funding will enable them to build on these relationships to develop and test a new way of carrying out research collaboratively.

This will ensure research addresses what matters most and that learning from research is fed back into the care homes in Devon to they can improve care for people living with dementia. 

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