The profile of care homes has never been higher, and not necessarily for the best reasons[1]. The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a massive impact on care home residents[2] , their families, the staff and organisations who care for them, and surrounding local communities[3] . It has also highlighted the lack of good evidence based treatments tailored for this population, and the challenges of rapidly setting up and delivering trials to provide high quality evidence based care for COVID-19 (e.g. the PROTECT-CH trial www.protect-trial.net). The lessons learned from developing care home trials during COVID-19 are also relevant to other trials for conditions that are common in care home residents, such as delirium, dementia, falls, incontinence and pressure damage. Previous trials have often delivered inconclusive results, which is a waste of public funds, particularly as the infrastructure supporting these trials is developed for the specific study and dismantled once it is complete. This has led to the question of whether null results are due to avoidable aspects of trial design, leading to asking: ‘did the trial kill the intervention?’[4]


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Shenkin, S., Gordon, A., Johnston, L., Henderson, C. & Achterberg, W. 2022, '“Don’t let the trial kill the intervention”: How can researchers and care home teams implement complex intervention trials in care homes?', Age and Ageing, 51(3), article no: afac068. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afac068

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Last updated: 29 July 2023
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