The purpose of this paper is to review the recent literature on housing with care in England where a longitudinal approach has been adopted and to identify possible new research projects that focus on gaps in the existing literature.
The review of the relevant research literature draws in part on an earlier overview of the broader literature on housing with care, part of an NIHR School for Social Care Research project, Adult Social Services Environments and Settings (ASSET).
The literature review suggests that the findings from longitudinal studies on housing with care in England have usually been based on administrative sources (such as assessments) rather than the primary focus being on the voice of residents and frontline staff. It is therefore suggested that further studies are required to reflect the views of everyday life in housing with care settings.
This literature review and the longitudinal qualitative framework for undertaking further inquiry forms the basis for a major bid for funds from the NIHR School for Social Care Research. This is a collaborative endeavour between the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies, the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester, the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the University of Kent and the Housing and Learning Improvement Network. The limitations of this paper reflect the paucity of past investigations on the contribution of social care to the quality of life of elderly residents in extra care housing.
As noted above, the reviews of this draft paper have helped to determine the form of the bid for research funds. Informal discussions with commissioners and providers of extra care housing for older people indicate that access for fieldwork along the lines proposed should not prove to be a major barrier. One of the important implications is to add to the weight of evidence about the working conditions of care staff in extra care housing. The research is likely to highlight both good and poor practices, not least with consequences for the quality of life of elderly residents.
As indicated above, the paper draws attention to the need for a longitudinal qualitative study on the contribution of social care to the quality of life of older residents in extra care housing. Such a study would focus both on the details of everyday lives experienced by residents and the interaction in this setting between frontline staff and residents. In the context of major demographic change in the UK and planned further substantial cuts in public expenditure, this research is of high relevance for both policy and practice in this field of social care.
The review indicated a reliance on administratively derived information about residents rather than focusing on the voice of residents and frontline staff. Future longitudinal research should pay attention to the latter.
The author thanks his colleagues, Ailsa Cameron and Simon Evans, for their invaluable comments on an earlier draft of this paper. The author also thanks two anonymous reviewers.
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