Research can be an influential driver in raising care home standards and the wellbeing and human rights of residents. We present a case for how a relational research capacity building programme could advance this agenda.
We use Axel Honneth’s Recognition Theory as a lens through which to explore organisational and institutional factors (such as research capacity and investment) that can either enable or limit ‘recognition’ in the context of research in care homes. We draw on recent evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom and worldwide, to argue that such a relational capacity building agenda is even more pressing in the current context, and that it resonates with evidence from existing relational capacity building initiatives.
A lack of relevant research arguably contributed to the crisis experienced by the care home sector early in the pandemic and there are only tentative signs that residents, care home providers and staff are now informing the COVID-19 research agenda. Evidence from pre COVID-19 and insights from Honneth’s Recognition Theory suggest that relational approaches to building research capacity within the care home sector can better generate evidence to inform practice.
This is a novel application of Recognition Theory to research in the care home sector. Drawing on theory as well as evidence has enabled us to provide a rationale as to why relationship-based research capacity building in care homes warrants further investment.