Care England, UCL (University College London), and The Outstanding Society (OS) have established a new partnership to tackle the problem of infections in care homes and learn lessons from the pandemic. The project builds on the national VIVALDI study when researchers and care providers worked together to produce evidence rapidly, which directly informed care home policy on COVID-19. Key examples include showing how important it was to pay full sick pay to staff – supporting the set-up of the Infection Control Fund, and monitoring how well vaccines protect vulnerable residents – informing when to use booster vaccines.
Professor Laura Shallcross (UCL) said:
“The VIVALDI study showed what could be done when researchers and care homes worked together, informing national responses to COVID-19. If we can do this kind of work during a pandemic, imagine what could be achieved if we adopted the same approach for other common infections, like flu or norovirus. We want to challenge the view that infections and outbreaks are simply an inevitable part of living in a care home, by delivering research and surveillance that tackles all kinds of infections.”
Professor Martin Green OBE (Care England) said:
“The Vivaldi project really shows the benefit of care homes being involved in research. Vivaldi delivered changes in policy and practice that were driven by the experiences of care homes. For one of the first times in our recent history, we had a policy agenda that was dictated by what worked for the care homes during a global pandemic. Vivaldi has clearly shown the power of care homes coming together with researchers to define the best practice for both residents and staff.”
Zoe Fry (OS) said:
“The VIVALDI study was such a significant milestone for Social Care to use research and surveillance to inform best practice to improve the lives of residents and teams within Care Homes. The OS is delighted to work with UCL and Care England to continue using evidence obtained within Social Care to reduce the impact of infections for the Care Home Community, not only for the physical wellbeing of residents, teams, and visitors but their mental wellbeing too.”
A care home network to reduce the impact of infection
Our goal is to establish a network of 500-1500 care homes in England that are motivated by the idea of research to improve care quality and are open to the idea of sharing data on their residents (with appropriate governance and oversight).
Importantly, all the work that we produce will have the needs and values of care home residents, families, and staff at its core.
Between now and December 2022, our working group of care providers, researchers, and people with lived experience will meet regularly to develop a detailed plan for this network. We will also identify providers who are willing to take part in a pilot study.
If you are interested in taking part please contact us at Vivaldi@careengland.org.uk or scan the following QR code to register your interest in stakeholder meetings or the pilot.