Skip to main content


Overcoming Barriers And Facilitators To Including Care Home Residents In Research – Recommendations For Researchers

27 July 2023


With an ageing population, older adults will have more complex health and social care needs and many of these older adults will be living in care homes. Despite the growth in care home populations, care home residents are often excluded from research. This results in research evidence that may not be generalisable to those who could benefit from it the most. If research findings are to inform practice and benefit those receiving the resulting evidence-based care, research participants need to reflect the population to which the research is being applied.

Whilst practical difficulties and ethical concerns are often thought to be reasons for the exclusion of care home residents in research, all people have the right to participate in research regardless of cognitive abilities or their place of residence.

In order to enable greater research opportunities for care home residents, improve the evidence-based care they receive and their quality of life, the challenges to their inclusion need to be identified.

What did we do?

We conducted a scoping review of the available literature. From an initial 3934 identified articles, 90 reports were eligible for inclusion. A number of recurring barriers and facilitators to the inclusion of care home residents in research were reported. However, isolating resident-related barriers was complex as both direct and indirect factors must be considered as influential as to not over-simplify the interactions.

The barriers and facilitators identified from the included articles were synthesised into 7 themes and related subthemes:

  1. Research design
  2. Understanding and beliefs about research (resident and care home staff)
  3. Communication
  4. Relationships
  5. Eligibility criteria (resident and care home)
  6. Preference-based decisions
  7. Care home staff and environment.

Recommendations for researchers

Understanding the barriers and facilitators to the inclusion of older people living in care homes will enable these factors to be addressed and increase the evidence-base for care provided to older people living in care homes.

From our findings we were able to develop a number of recommendations for researchers:

ENGAGE Study infographic PDF

If you would like to read more about our review, you can access it here: