Relationships in research collaborations: perspectives from a study to understand engagement of older people in care homes research

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Respectful relationships are at the heart of research studies seeking to involve and learn from patient and public involvement (PPI) collaborations. Powerful constructions of very old people as non-agentic call for resistance by all concerned with later life. Our CLAHRC-funded study, Residents Research-Active in Care Homes (RReACH), explored the involvement of older care-home residents in research, with six key PPI collaborators: three older care-home residents, two older people in the community and one housing-with-care manager. This collaboration took a dynamic, emergent approach to building both the research design and PPI contribution, aiming to promote authentic contributions and specify what inclusive engagement in research might be possible for older people in this setting.

To explore respectful, effective relationships with PPI colleagues, we aimed to engage in ways that encouraged responsive conversations to express and reflect on individual preferences and needs. This helped establish dynamic, productive relationships, reflected in the wide range of challenging and detailed issues raised as relevant within continuing interactions over the life of the project. We also held workshops to explore how to link with those interested in care-home research and how to sustain relationships beyond this study. While strong one-to-one relationships were seen as essential, sustaining longer-term engagement also required building broader networks between organisations and among individuals interested in care homes.

We will discuss how collaborative relationships were experienced and how the ideas generated at the workshops may be translated into establishing research-directive reciprocal and sustainable relationships with older people living in care homes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this