A multi-disciplinary approach in Care Homes benefits students, staff and residents, study shows.

Categories: Research, School of Health and Society

A research team at the University of Salford have released the headline findings of a new study into multi-disciplinary working in care homes, with full results set to be published in coming weeks.

The three-year study, Not the Last Resort, has been led by Dr Melanie Stephens, Associate Professor in Adult Nursing in the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford.  

The title of the report challenges the view that working in care homes can be viewed as a “last resort” by learners and other professionals.

Dr Stephens said: “Our study findings show the transformative power of interprofessional education in social care settings. The project is not only inspiring but also very timely, coming so soon after Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty’s annual report recommending action to improve quality of life for older adults.”

Since 2021, the University of Salford, in collaboration with the University of Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, have conducted two studies across five care homes. Fifty pre-registration students from Nursing and Allied Health Professions were given the opportunity to experience an interprofessional training scheme as part of their placement in a care home.

Students came from a range of health and social care professions, including Nursing (Adult, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health), Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation. During periods of overlap, when students were out on placement at the same time, they worked as an integrated team. They attended a weekly MDT meeting with other students, staff and two residents to work on a goal the residents wanted to achieve.  

Dr Stephens said “Through evaluation, we found that participation in the initiative yields a positive impact not only on care home staff and residents, but also on learners’ knowledge, skill and personal development. The study has shown that residents benefit from improved quality of care, access to new interventions and equipment and an increase in their sense of wellbeing. It has also helped to challenge students’ negative perceptions of care homes.

“With the strategic importance of care homes to the delivery of appropriate health and social care, and calls to expand and diversify the future workforce, it's imperative that we develop innovative placement models and inspire students to see the immense potential of careers in social care,” said Dr Stephens. 

“Looking ahead, we are hoping to secure funding for a future study which will see us working with six other universities so we can examine the model across geographical locations and different care home providers.”

A brochure summarising the Not the Last Resort projects called ‘Investigating the Long term Impact of Interprofessional Education Initiatives in Care Home Settings’ is available from Dr Stephens, email: m.stephens@salford.ac.uk. The full report will be published in coming weeks.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.