Lack of knowledge about practice of care home managers prompts research study

Scoping study to fill gap in knowledge about home managers launched alongside studies into self-funders, safeguarding terminology and preventive services

Person studying
Photo: Jeff Brackler/Rex Features

The lack of knowledge about the practice of care home managers has prompted a scoping study concerning their role and experience, and the support they receive from home owners.

The study, commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research (SSCR), will identify and summarise existing evidence on the role of home managers.

It is one of four scoping studies announced this week by the SSCR to probe areas of practice where there are gaps in knowledge; the other studies will cover the population of self-funding care users, the different terminology across health and social care regarding safeguarding and evaluating preventive services. The SSCR’s role is to improve the evidence base for adult social care.

Research into care homes has focused on organisational culture, said the SSCR. “Little is known about care home managers, their careers, training and the supervision and support they receive from home owners or regional managers, nor about their practice, experiences, skills and challenges they face,” it added.

The study, led by Katharine Orellana, of King’s College London’s Social Care Workforce Research Unit, will examine existing evidence on these issues and what gaps, if any, require further research.

Another study will tackle the lack of knowledge about the characteristics and needs of self-funders, and examine what further research may be needed to do so. The research, led by Professor Caroline Glendinning, of York University’s Social Policy Research Unit, comes with the proportion of self-funders in the care population on the increase. Also, councils will need to improve their information on self-funders to implement the care funding reforms in the Care Bill, under which a ‘cap’ will be applied to individuals’ liability for ‘reasonable’ care costs. Among other issues, the study will examine care providers’ experiences of self-funders and the challenges posed by serving this group.

A third study will look at the different terminology used by the NHS and social care to define issues of risk to service users and patients, at a time when there is ever-greater emphasis on integrated care. While the health service tends to refer to patient ‘safety’, in social care ‘safeguarding’ is more common. The study, led by Professor Yvonne Birks and Dr Fiona Aspinal, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, will:

  • examine how the terms ‘risk’, ‘safety’ and ‘safeguarding’ are used and understood in different contexts;
  • explore where, and how, they overlap and diverge
  • examine the implications of current understanding of risk, safety and safeguarding for integrated service provision.

The fourth study is designed to develop a framework for evaluating preventive social care interventions, to address the lack of such a system in the face of a strong policy focus on prevention. It is led by Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez, of the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.