RCN Foundation and York University Research into nursing in care homes 

The research team at York University funded by the RCN Foundation have released their report into nursing in care homes. 

To download and read the full report please click here. (PDF)


In the UK, approximately half a million older people live in twelve thousand care homes. The care home sector is an increasingly important source of long term care for older people. Care homes are an essential part of local health economies, but remain separate from the NHS and are subject to frequent, critical, commentary.

On presenting the research lead researcher Professor Karen Spilsbury noted

It’s such a timely issue it will be incredibly important and not just in the UK. The outcomes of the research aim to inform the research and policy agenda, encourage attention on care homes, and ultimately benefit care home nurses and residents.

Emeritus Professor Tony Butterworth CBE Trustee of the RCN Foundation commented

‘It is a privilege to fund a project with such huge potential benefits; the outcomes from the study will also be used to design the RCN Foundation’s grant giving programme in 2015, as the organisation looks to fund further projects supporting nurse led care.’

The University of York has been funded to work in partnership with the charity as the first step in developing a new grants programme focused on supporting projects that will help deliver benefits to patients through nursing in care homes

The Foundation will be hosting a workshop in September with interested stakeholders. If you feel that you or your organisation would like to be involved in this then please register your interest by e-mailing rcnfoundation@rcn.org.uk

About the University of York

The Department of Health Sciences at the University of York has an established track record in nurse education, evidence based nursing and research outputs addressing nursing policy and practice concerns. The research team have a portfolio of work focusing on the nursing workforce, skill mix and care homes and have experience of working together on a number of successful collaborative projects.

About the research team 

Professor Karen Spilsbury is Principal Investigator for this study.  She is a registered nurse and health services researcher. Her portfolio of research concentrates on important clinical and policy problems in the areas of healthcare workforce and its impact on service delivery and care across a range of settings, including care homes.  Karen is involved in supporting nursing students at York:  she is Programme Lead for the integrated undergraduate Masters in Nursing and is a module leader and personal supervisor for the BSc (Hons) Nursing.

Dr Barbara Hanratty is senior lecturer and honorary consultant in public health. She spends one day each week working as a GP. Her research is concerned with older adults’ health, including end of life care. Patient and caregiver experiences and the influence of socioeconomic disadvantage are particular interests. Recent work has included studies of older adults’ transitions between settings and living alone with cancer at the end of life. She is now developing a programme of research that aims to ensure that care home residents receive high quality primary care.

Dorothy McCaughan completed an undergraduate degree in English at Queen’s University in Belfast before moving to York and training as a registered nurse, after which she worked abroad for 10 years.  Dorothy has worked on a range of research projects within the Department of Health Sciences, including projects on nurses’ use of research information in clinical decision making and patient involvement in patient safety. Dorothy's research interests are in the skill mix in healthcare delivery, new nursing roles, evidence-based practice, patient safety and qualitative methods.  She is also involved in departmental teaching activities.  

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