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Institute of Health and Health Policy Research project information

COVID-19 studies

The institute has a number of COVID-19 related studies underway. The following study, which commenced in early May 2020, is looking to recruit family carers who have a relative permanently living in a UK care home. A summary of this study is listed below, if you would like to be involved or have questions about the study please contact the study team, Dr Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith or Professor Jayne Brown by email

Further details can be found on our participant information sheet.

The experience of family carers and keeping in regular contact with loved ones who permanently live in a care home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A UK perspective

  1. What is the study about?

    In the UK on the 23rd March, 2020 the UK population was informed to "stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives" (Gov. UK 2020a). This included any visits by family to loved ones living in a care home including residential care home settings. However, limiting personal contacts and interactions with care home residents and their family can cause undue distress to residents. How does the restriction on visits affect family members, and how are they adjusting?

    The aim of this COVID-19 related study is to explore the experiences for family who are unable to visit their relatives (Parent, Brother, Sister, Aunt or Uncle) who permanently resides in a care home. This relates to ‘usual’ family visits as well as compassion visits that may be made at a time when end of life (EOL) procedures would be followed. We want to understand current interactions between family and their relatives living within a care home during the period of a UK-wide lockdown and continuing after care home visits are allowed by family.

    It is proposed through the findings from this COVID-19 care home study to co-develop resources that facilitate good practice with practical messages of how family can be actively engaged in the continuing care of a loved one in a care home when restrictions may be in place. For example, this can occur when there is an outbreak of a more common infection and the care home is restricting visitors.

  2. How can you get involved?

    We are looking to interview carers who have a relative who lives permanently in a care home in the UK and where you usually (pre COVID restrictions) visited them at least once per week or at least 3 times per month.
  3. What does taking part involve?

    The study will involve you agreeing to be interviewed online using a recordable source (similar to FaceTime or WhatsApp) but one which is encrypted for research purposes and where the interview can be recorded securely. You will need to have access to either a smart phone, iPad or a PC that has reliable internet connection. Interview times and dates will be agreed between the researcher and yourself and will be no more than on 4 agreed weekly occasions during the enforced lock down and 1 occasion once restrictions are lifted and visits to care homes are permitted to a maximum of 5 interviews in total.
  4. Next steps

    If you are interested in taking part in the study, please read the participant information sheet and complete the participant consent form.

    Please return the completed consent form via email to

    If you wish to obtain more information please contact the research team at the same email

This study is conducted by Senior Research Fellow Dr Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith and Professor Jayne Brown.

Centre for LGBTQ research

“More Than A Diagnosis”: Promoting Good Outcomes in LGBT Cancer Care: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences and professionals’ interactions in clinical oncology. Funded by Macmillan Cancer Support Professor Julie Fish.

All the lonely people, where do they all belong? Exploring loneliness and belonging in LGBT communities. School of Applied Social Sciences funding Professor Julie Fish.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Sex-Work Migration and Health Implications British Academy: SG162768 Dr Zowie Davy.

School Cultures and Gender Variant Children: Parents’ and Guardians’ Perspectives, VC2020 Research Fund Dr Zowie Davy.

An exploration of the health issues and challenges experienced by older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex (LGBTI) people. Collaboration with: University of Brighton. Professor Kay de Vries.

BAME men who have sex with men: health interventions and learning sets, Evaluation Project. 2014-2016  Julie Fish Periklis Papaloukas Rusi Jaspal (PI) and Iain Williamson. Public Health England.

Health Policy Research Unit

Understanding continence practices in acute settings for people with dementia: raising awareness and improving care NIHR HS&DR Dr Andy Northcote.

Creative practice as mutual recovery: Connecting communities for mental health and wellbeing Arts and Humanities Research Council AH/K003364/1 Professor Brian Brown.

Better Visits: Improving the experience of visiting for families and people living with dementia (2017-18) Andy Northcott with C Elsey. Managed by Learning for the 4th Age (L4A). LASA Seedcorn funding: £2,500.

The Cuban Health System: Lessons for Global and Domestic Policymakers  (2012-2013). R. Baggott and G. Lambie.  Funded by British Academy Small Grant Scheme, £7,600.

Conceptualising Community as a Social Fix, argument and persuasion in health, housing and local governance. A review of the literature. (2011) Kathryn Jones and L Hamalainen (2011). Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre

Loneliness and Social Isolation, an intergenerational life-story gathering initiative aimed at combating loneliness and social isolation in older adults in Leicester, #DMUglobal and Age UK. Associate Professor Andrew Clifton.

Partnerships and Collaborations: Udine University (Men and Nursing), Nethersole School of Nursing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Huddersfield University, Nottingham University (Cochrane Reviews) Ass Professor Andrew Clifton.

Scaling up the Family Carer Decision Support Intervention: A multisite dementia care home implementation evaluation. Collaboration: Queen's University Belfast, Lancaster University. Alzheimer’s Society. Professor Kay de Vries.

Co-designing person centred frailty interventions in partnership with older people and health professionals.  Collaboration: University of Brighton, Birmingham City University. Burdett Trust. Professor Kay de Vries.

An investigation of use of simulated training to enhance clinical leadership skills within the nursing and residential care sector. Collaboration: University of Brighton. Burdett Trust. Professor Kay de Vries.

Centenarian study: An exploration of the experience of being a hundred years old or older. Collaboration: Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan. Professor Kay de Vries.

An exploration of the impact of providing and experiencing services provided as part of Leicester Ageing Together. Professor Jayne Brown.

The use of dance as a vehicle/instrument for enhancing communication and relationship building when supporting people with dementia. Associate Professor Karan Jutlla and Dr Chris Knifton.

Work. Live. Leicestershire Evaluation Programme

The Work. Live. Leicestershire (WiLL) programme is a partnership of nine voluntary and public sector organisations, led by sight loss charity, Vista. A grant of £2.4m from the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund’s Building Better Opportunities initiative is helping over 500 people in rural Leicestershire, who are unemployed or economically inactive, to move into job search, training or employment.  

WiLL is a partnership of nine organisations: Vista, B-Inspired, CASE, De Montfort University, Leicestershire County Council, Prince’s Trust, Rural Community Council, Voluntary Action Leicestershire, and Workers’ Education Association.  

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) researchers from the Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care Research will evaluate the programme.  Professor Jayne Brown, Professor of Nursing, said: ”As the Sunday Times University of the Year for Social Inclusion, it is highly appropriate that De Montfort University joins Vista and partners in promoting employment for those furthest from the job market, providing holistic support to make access to work and training more inclusive.”

Participants on the evaluation project will be joining the research team on co-production of steering and direction, assessing methods and outcomes, making sure we are capturing the participant experience fully, and producing outputs.

This project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.