Recommendations for research
- 1 Methods and approaches for gathering the experiences of people who use adult social care services
- 2 Co-producing research into the views and experiences of people who use services
- 3 Identifying barriers and enablers to using the views and experiences of people who use services to improve services
- 4 Use of technology in providing care
The guideline committee has made the following recommendations for research.
When conducting research for the purposes of service improvement, what research methods are acceptable, appropriate and effective in meaningfully gathering the views and experiences of people who use services?
Current research methods for gathering the views and experiences of people who use services commonly include standardised surveys and measures (for example, patient-reported outcome measures [PROMs]; NHS and social care: public perceptions surveys; The National Adult Social Care User Experience Survey). However, the evidence reviewed for this guideline suggests that measures of this kind may have limitations in terms of how comprehensive and representative these people are who are typically willing and able to respond to these kinds of self-completion postal surveys. This means that some people's views and experiences of social care may not be included in surveys designed to support service improvement. Further research is needed to:
Determine the extent to which frequently used research methods meaningfully engage people and provide an accurate picture of their views and experiences.
Develop and test new or innovative methods for gathering views and experiences. This could include narrative methods and the use of technology such as apps. The methods would be compared in relation to how well they were able to provide accurate and detailed information on people's views and experiences of care and support.
What approaches have been shown to work in supporting the co‑production of research for the purposes of service improvement with people who use services?
Co-production is a key concept in the development of public services (Co-production in social care: what it is and how to do it, Social Care Institute for Excellence [SCIE]), and there are many examples in practice that highlight how individuals and communities can positively shape the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered (Co-production in commissioning, Think Local Act Personal 2015). Co‑produced research on the views and experiences of people who use services is a potential means of improving services. Co‑producing all stages of the research process with people who use services is an important principle, which may signpost pertinent issues and questions that would have otherwise been neglected. However, there is little published evidence about how to put the principle of co‑production into practice in research, although it appears that there may be good practice occurring within the sector.
3 Identifying barriers and enablers to using the views and experiences of people who use services to improve services
What are the barriers and enablers to gathering, synthesising and applying data on the views and experiences of people who use services for the purposes of service improvement?
There are several examples of data-gathering processes designed with the purpose of improving services – for example, annual mandatory local authority surveys, audit, and small-scale consultation at the individual organisation level. However, little is known about how the data from these exercises are translated into change and improvement in services, including:
What capacity is needed within organisations to gather data and make use of it, and whether this is present?
What factors determine whether the findings of research are implemented in practice?
What are the views and experiences of people who use adult social care services on assistive technologies?
Assistive technology is one means by which social care services can help people to maintain independence. These technologies include a wide range of devices, ranging from simple, low-cost devices such as pendant alarms, to more intricate home monitoring systems using electronic information and communication technology – for example, integrated systems of sensors, alarms and remote monitoring. Across all population groups, there is a paucity of evidence about how acceptable assistive technology is to people who use services, and the impact of the technology on their satisfaction with services. Issues that could be explored include the extent to which the technology is and can be personalised, anxiety that it may be used to scale back services and reduce human contact, loss of confidentiality where personal information is shared, and ethical questions around privacy and surveillance.