Producing ‘Top Tips’ for care home staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in England: rapid reviews inform evidence-based practice but reveal major gaps

Ann-Marie Towers, Anne Killett, M. Handley, Kathryn Almack, Tamara Backhouse, Diane Bunn, F. Bunn, A. Dickinson, E. Mathie, A. Mayrhofer, R. Mikelyte, C. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Context: The work presented in this paper was undertaken during the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK.
Objectives: The project aimed to respond to questions and concerns raised by front-line care staff during this time, by producing research-based ‘Top Tips’ to complement emerging COVID-19 policy and practice guidelines.
Methods: Eight rapid, expert reviews of published, multidisciplinary research evidence were conducted to help answer care home workers’ questions about ‘how’ to support residents, family members and each other at a time of unprecedented pressure and grief and adhere to guidance on self-distancing and isolation. A review of the emerging policy guidelines published up to the end of April 2020 was also undertaken.
Findings: The rapid reviews revealed gaps in research evidence, with research having a lot to say about what care homes should do and far less about how they should do it. The policy review highlighted the expectations and demands placed on managers and direct care workers as the pandemic spread across the UK.
Implications: This paper highlights the value of working with the sector to co-design and co-produce research and pathways to knowledge with those who live, work and care in care homes. To have a real impact on care practice, research in care homes needs to go beyond telling homes ‘what’ to do by working with them to find out ‘how’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020


  • COVID-19
  • care homes
  • expert review
  • policy review
  • skilled care
  • social care

Cite this