Around 60 participants, mainly directors and social care theme leads from the 15 Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) across the country, came together in October for a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) ARC National Social Care Summit, with the aim to further develop the (ARC) adult social care research agenda.
Hosted by the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) and the NIHR School for Social Care Research, the event began with short presentations on priorities for social care research, from the perspectives of the local government social care sector, national policy and the existing research community.
The presentations and discussion then turned to the issue of building capacity in social care research, particularly the role of the ARCs. Presentations were given by leading researchers exploring how to improve and promote engagement and participation, and build partnerships with the care sector regarding research. They shared ways in which capacity is being built (including that funded by NIHR) and how we can draw in social care practitioners into research.
The third session covered fundamental considerations for research around public and community involvement and the implementation of research findings into practice. Current thinking was discussed and approaches to these topics from a social care perspective were presented.
To round off the event, attendees were split into groups and asked to consider how they would further develop the ARC adult social care research agenda. Discussion focused on three main areas:
- Which topics on adult social care (ASC) would you prioritise, and how you came to that decision.
- What research methods and approaches would you use.
- How far is research capacity available and how could that be developed.
Key discussion points from this session included:
- Ways to improve sustainability and retention of the social care workforce.
- The valuable and often overlooked role of family caregivers in domiciliary settings.
- How we could build on the methodological capacity of ARCs.
- Adopting a flexible and adaptive approach to research to help meet needs and demands of the community.
- The emerging development of more feasible longitudinal research protocols for social care research.
- How we could minimise the burden of participation and involvement with research on the social care workforce to increase engagement.
- Ways to better engage with the sector to promote research activity, including the importance of funding to compensate care sector participants for their time.
A summary from this event is available here.