Understanding the challenges of participation in nursing home research: New Trinity study

Posted on: 11 July 2023

Understanding the challenges of participation in nursing home research: New Trinity study

Insufficient research data currently exists to represent the experience of nursing home residents with dementia in Ireland. This data helps define the care experience of nursing home residents and their families and highlights the needs of residents. 

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have this week launched a survey to find out why gathering this data for nursing home research is proving difficult. 

In order to provide the highest standard of care for this growing population of nursing home residents with dementia, we need to design and conduct better research in this care setting, according to the researchers from the ‘Dementia Research Group’ at Trinity. 

The group has launched the first study in Ireland to investigate what prevents or motivates people to take part in research in nursing homes. It is aimed at nursing home management, staff, and family of residents.

JP Connelly Clinical Research Manager and PhD candidate said:

“This is the first study in Ireland to investigate what makes nursing home stakeholders want to take part in research or not, and the types of research that they think should be prioritised. The findings will help us to optimise care standards and ultimately improve quality of life for residents with dementia. 

“The World Health Organisation has called on a global effort to tackle dementia labelling it a public health priority. In Ireland, 5,000 cases of dementia are diagnosed every year. By 2050, it is expected that there will be 2.5 times more people diagnosed with dementia; many of whom will depend on long-term care in nursing home settings.”

A recent survey conducted by the research team in nursing homes earlier this year had a very poor response rate with less than 35 surveys of the targeted 200 being completed. 

Insufficient data currently exists for people with dementia in nursing homes in Ireland. The team argues that without sufficient participation in research, findings are inadequate and: do not reflect or represent this population; limit the impact of targeted interventions for residents; limit opportunities to impact positively on quality of life for residentsdo not allow residents, staff and families to identify priority areas for research, and limit opportunities to influence public policy.

Looking ahead, Mr Connelly explained:

“By understanding why research is difficult in nursing homes and what research areas people think should be prioritised, we can design more effective clinical trials and other types of research that are focussed on the issues that are important to all who live and work there.

“The findings from this study may inform key policy decisions in the sector, it’s vital now that we get as many nursing home staff and family members of residents to complete this survey, to ensure the findings fully represent the sector.”

To take part in the survey, you can follow this link here

Media Contact:

Fiona Tyrrell | Media Relations | tyrrellf@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3551