Coronavirus and Dementia in Care Homes Research Study

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, those who work with people living with dementia in care homes have had to deal with very new and unusual circumstances, which many were unprepared for. Unlike NHS staff, care homes have remained out of public view and the voices of those who live and work within them are generally unheard.

The purpose of the Coronavirus and Dementia in Care Homes Study is to gain an insight into the experience of Covid 19 in care homes from the viewpoint of the staff who work in them. We are particularly interested in finding out the things staff do to help themselves and each other, known as self-help and mutual support strategies.
We started recruiting participants for this study at the beginning of August 2020. Most study participants are or have been students at the University of Bradford MSc in Advanced Dementia Studies. Most of them work, in different roles, in care homes around the UK and overseas.

Picture by Gilbert Mercier,

More than twenty people have been in touch to say they are interested in taking part. And three experts by experience advise on the study, helping us to understand the findings and working with us to write blogs posts and publications.

Phase one of the study involved participants sharing their own experience of taking care of somebody living with dementia, during the current pandemic.

We are now in Phase two, where participants take and share photos which sum up what living through the pandemic was like in their workplace (no images of people are included).

After this we will move on to the last phase of the study where participants, together with Experts by Experience, will write blog posts aimed at other direct care staff and families/relatives of people with dementia. These blogs will be posted here and will provide a unique insight into the experience of Covid-19 in care homes (click on this link for a blog written by one of our participants). During this phase we will also work with participants to co-design a resource pack aiming to help care home staff look after themselves and people living with dementia either in the event of a further outbreak, or as things return to normal.

“I think a study like this is going to help in future instances. You have to include the nursing homes the minute a pandemic like this hits again. You need to have special guidance…I think studies like this will help nursing homes to know what to do, to know what failed and what succeeded.” (Sandra, participant)


“This is such a worthwhile project (…) I’m hearing many stories of difficult situations in care homes due to the pandemic outbreak. These experiences are from both family carers unable to visit their partners in the care home or from care staff who are working in very difficult circumstances…I think there will be a lot of learning from this research which will be especially valuable should there be a second wave.” (Clare, research team)

Coronavirus and Dementia in Care Homes (CoDeC) is a study funded by the University of Bradford. We will use the findings from this research to apply for further funding from NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) in the autumn.

If you would like to find out more about the study and/or be involved in this or similar research, please contact Giorgia Previdoli