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ENRICH Scotland

Enabling research in care homes 

Improving the lives and health of older people living in care homes is a major priority, but care home residents are generally underrepresented in research studies. Enabling Research in Care Homes (ENRICH) aims to change this by strengthening support for research outside the NHS. 

Dr Susan Shenkin, co-chair of ENRICH Scotland, introduces the network

The network brings together care home staff, residents and researchers to facilitate the design and delivery of research, to improve the quality of life, treatments and care for all residents. ENRICH Scotland works closely with NRS Neuroprogressive and Dementia (NRS NDN), NRS Ageing and NRS Primary Care, and is co-chaired by Dr Emma Law (Network Manager, NRS NDN) and Dr Susan Shenkin (previously Clinical Lead, NRS Ageing).

The Forum works collaboratively with NIHR ENRICH, making this uniquely fit for Scottish care homes, to establish which homes are ready to practice research.

The Forum:

  • brings together a multidisciplinary group of around 40 people, who collectively assist in gathering and sharing the evidence base required to advance care home practice in Scotland, including: 
    • care home and NHS staff
    • academics from a wide range of universities and disciplines (medical, nursing, Allied Health Professionals, sociology)
    • Scottish Care
    • the Care Inspectorate
  • works to raise the profile of care home research in Scotland
  • acts as advocates and promotes the care home research agenda with appropriate stakeholders including care home managers, NHS and academic partners, policymakers and
     research funders 

Contact ENRICH Scotland

Register your interest in care home research

Register your interest

Care home managers and staff can register their facilities interest in joining ENRICH Scotland online. 

If you would prefer a physical form, contact

Once complete, a member of the ENRICH Scotland team will contact you confirming receipt of details and to provide a certificate of participation, confirming your facility is ‘research ready’.

ENRICH Scotland will contact you with opportunities as they arise. You will be under no obligation but we ask that you consider the benefits to residents, families and staff of taking part.

Information for care homes

Participating in research is beneficial to care home staff and residents because:

  • Involvement provides stimulation as residents take part in new activities or have someone new to talk to as part of a study
  • It gives back control to residents and their families, allowing them to feel like they are contributing to the future
  • It encourages residents to take an increased interest in their own health and wellbeing
  • It leads to professional development opportunities for staff
  • It encourages researchers and funders to address issues that are of interest to care home residents, such as symptom management, activities, or end-of-life care
  • It improves contact between care homes and other local health and social care services
  • Research provides an effective voice for residents, families and staff

Involvement in research can be planned around the needs and interests of residents and available time.



There are lots of different way to get involved in research if you live or work in a care home. Examples include:

  • Promoting research to residents, families, and staff by handing out leaflets, displaying posters or hosting awareness sessions
  • Reviewing support requests for research studies, and consider how your care home staff, residents, and their families could contribute
  • Taking part in a study that could involve filling in a questionnaire, taking part in a discussion group or trying out different treatments

The Care Home Data Innovation Foundation Challenge is an example of one type of involvement, which invites companies to assess if currently collected data on residents by care homes, can – alone or when combined with health and social care records – provide a holistic digital picture of a resident’s health, wellbeing and care needs.


Information for researchers

At ENRICH Scotland we carefully consider each study we are willing and able to support, within the network of 'Research Ready' care homes. The development of these eligibility criteria was adapted from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) eligibility criteria for clinical research support¹.

We work with care homes in the ENRICH network to prioritise studies that meet the needs and interests of care home staff, residents, and their families. Furthermore, we balance the need to provide opportunities for research participation with care home capacity and safety.

For researchers or students who are interested in approaching ENRICH Scotland for support, the section below explains the eligibility criteria we assess each study against. Please check your project, studies or ideas are in line with these.

If your work falls outside of these criteria please contact us, and we will be happy to advise you on how to adapt or reconfigure it to make it eligible.

Eligibility Criteria 

For a study to be supported by ENRICH Scotland it must meet the definition of research outlined by the UK policy framework for health and social care research²:

“As the attempt to derive generalisable or transferable new knowledge to answer or refine relevant questions with scientifically sound methods. This excludes audits of practice and service evaluations. It includes activities that are carried out in preparation for or as a consequence of the interventional part of the research, such as screening potential participants for eligibility, obtaining participants’ consent and publishing results. It also includes non-interventional health and social care research (i.e., projects that do not involve any change in standard treatment, care or other services), projects that aim to generate hypotheses, methodological research and descriptive research.”

If you are unsure about your study and whether it falls within this definition, please consult with the Medical Research Council’s decision tool

Automatic Eligibility

Of studies relating to care home residents, their families, and staff working in care homes, some studies will be automatically eligible for support within the network. These are:

  1. Any study that is funded by NIHR, Chief Scientist Office (CSO), NHS Scotland, NHS England, or any other central Government funder
  2. Any study funded by an organisation on the CSO list of eligible funding organisations


  1. Studies that have ethical approval from a university or NHS ethics committee

A Study Requiring Review

Investigator-initiated, commercial-collaborative research studies, and studies funded by overseas governments or charities, are ‘potentially eligible’ for support and are required to undergo additional review. Contact the ENRICH Scotland coordinator to discuss further.

Additional Information

If you are developing or undertaking an audit, evaluation, service evaluation or quality improvement project you are welcome to contact us to see if we can help you connect with another team, researcher, student, or professional who might be better placed to advise and support you.


  1. NIHR. Eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network support. NIHR. [Online] 21 January 2020. [Cited: 7 July 2021.] 
  2. Health Research Authority. UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research. Health Research Authority. [Online] 30 October 2020. [Cited: 7 July 2021.] 

Studies currently supported by ENRICH

Studies previously supported by ENRICH

Find out more

To find out more about the work of ENRICH Scotland, contact

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