Co-design: A Route to Utilisation of Research in Care Homes?

Joseph Langley, Rebecca Wassell, Anna Verey, Andrew Geddis-Regan, Paul Brocklehurst, Gerry McKenna, Georgios Tsakos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Objectives: 1) Explore the challenges of providing oral care in care homes;
2) Gauge levels of care practises in care homes by care home staff.
Methods: Four care homes in Sheffield were identified via the ‘ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network’ and 3-6 staff were recruited as co-design partners from each site. The co-design process constituted three workshops, led by the Lab4Living team. Experiences of oral care were shared, challenges identified and strategies for overcoming challenges were uncovered and celebrated. Current evidence was explored and new resources suggested. The design researchers translated these ideas and evidence into prototypes, resources and ‘products’ to help care home staff carry out residents’ daily oral care routines.
Results: The co-design process led to an appreciation of:
1) The time and resources constraints that care home staff operate under;
2) The rapidly growing care home resident population with dementia and other forms neurodegenerative conditions;
3) The challenges of, and dangers to, care home staff when residents display ‘refusal behaviours’ and the need to balance patients’ oral care needs with carer safety;
4) The wide range of operational ‘coping’ strategies developed by care home staff to overcome ‘refusal’ behaviours.
Conclusions: Provision of oral care to residents by care home staff is complex: issues of refusal behaviour, staff safety, time and resource pressures, residents’ overall wellbeing, cognitive ability, and their right to refuse care, make this significantly challenging.

This co-design process has uncovered substantial practical knowledge and coping strategies that care home staff have developed over time; knowledge that has so far felt to have been marginalised and undervalued. Through this novel co-design approach, this knowledge has been brought together with research evidence into a set of practical resources that may help care home staff to assess, plan, deliver and evaluate personal oral care for residents in care homes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Publication statusAccepted - 01 Jun 2020
Event2020 IADR / AADR / CADR General Session - Washington DC, Washington DC, United States
Duration: 18 Mar 202021 Mar 2020

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