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Cambridge Public Health


A new publication by Cambridge Public Health researchers and others highlights the urgent need to develop a consensus on useful and sensitive tools for care homes, measuring what matters most and in the most efficient and least burdensome way.

As the need for care home places for older adults is anticipated to grow, care homes are increasingly important settings for intervention research to enhance evidence-informed care.

However, producing this evidence requires an understanding of how to describe and measure relevant resident outcomes of care delivery, including health, function and quality of life.

The article, published in Age and Ageing, reports on the results of a scoping review of international care home research between 2015-2022 to identify intervention studies and describe the resident outcome measures used.

It found that there is significant heterogeneity in the choice and assessment of outcomes for intervention research in care homes, disproportionate to the diversity of interventions tested. Further, the majority of outcome measures were used only once.

The researchers conclude that there is an urgent need to develop a consensus on useful and sensitive tools for care homes, as the diversity of measures used to measure similar attributes creates challenges in learning from research findings and making recommendations for practice and policy.

This requires a collaborative approach to research, with residents, families, staff and other key stakeholders involved from the outset in designing contextually appropriate outcome ascertainment.

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