Primary Palliative Care Research Group

Teaching/Research-based care home centre

A visionary approach to care homes and the development of carers and researchers in the field

New Update for Autumn 2019 from our Care Home Innovation Partnership:


Photo of a carer and a woman in a care home centre
Photo of a woman in a care home centre

The professional and public perception of care homes is currently not a positive one. At a time of an unprecedented number of older people over the age of 85 years living and dying in our society, we need a vision for 2040 in order to develop the social and healthcare workforce in relation to the care of frail older people.

There are five core objective for the Centre (service provision, knowledge and skills development, training of undergraduate/postgraduate students, research and community engagement) that will support the ethos of care and compassion at the teaching/research-based care home centre.  Innovative design, staffing and management will enable the centre to become both a showcase for best practice and a rich source for research, skills development and community involvement in the delivery of care for frail older people. 

Once established, the prime role of the centre will be to reach out to care home across the region in a ‘hub and spoke’ model to help coordinate and sustain practice development initiatives and initiate research in care homes that might not have previously taken part.  The centre will provide a conduit through which care homes have a greater connection to the NHS/social care, universities and political discussions within government.

We are currently working in six ‘partner’ care homes (a combination of council, charity, not-for-profit, and for profit) undertaking ‘tests of change’.  The tests of change, in relation to student placements, skill mix, electronic care planning/data, palliative care initiatives, volunteers etc., will inform the centre once it is open. The centre will be developed and sustained through a cohesive multi-partnership model embracing local universities, local care homes, local health/social care partnerships, local and central government.  It will provide the sustainability of practice development initiatives that are currently elusive because of a number of issues that include high turnover of staff/management.


The centre seeks to challenge and bring a sea-change to the generally poor perceptions of care homes. It will encourage a new generation of visionary professional carers for frail older people living and dying in care homes across the region. The centre will be a rich research environment in which to develop and test quality improvements and innovation. Care, skills development and research will be integrated first at a local level, then extend to regional and national levels.

Research team

Dr Jo Hockley (The University of Edinburgh), Professor Scott Murray (The University of Edinburgh), Professor Brendan McCormack (Queen Margaret University), Dr Catherine Mahoney (Edinburgh Napier University)


Edinburgh IJB, NHS Lothian, Scottish Government


This project is funded by Macmillian Cancer Support until 2021.


Key resources and web links re the Centre:

Published articles on palliative care/care homes:

  • Wytham M & Hockley J (2016)   A good death for the oldest old (editorial). Age and Ageing, 45: 329-331.
  • Hockley J & Kinley J (2016) A practice development initiative supporting care home staff deliver high quality end-of-life care.  International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 22(10): 474-481.
  • Stacpoole M, Hockley J, Thompsell A, Simard J & Volicer L (2017) Evaluating the effects of implementing the Namaste Care programme on residents with advanced dementia, their families and staff in UK care homes. Annals of Palliative Medicine 6(4): 327-339.
  • Hockley J (2017) Hospices and care homes – similarities and differences in relation to palliative care. Annals of Palliative Medicine 6(4): 396-398.
  • Kinley J, Hockley J, Stone L & Brazil K (2018)   Family perceptions of care at the end-of-life in UK nursing care homes. Journal of Research in Nursing, Vol.23(2-3), pp.203-217
  • Macarthur J & Hockley J (2018) Guest editorial. Special edition on care homes. Journal of Research in Nursing, Vol.23(2-3), pp.105-108