Supporting sustainable long-term residential care in Ireland: a study protocol for the Sustainable Residential Care (SRC) project

April 12, 2022

HRB Open Res 2022, 5:30

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic brought to the fore deficiencies in the long-term residential care (LTRC) sector, including issues of governance, funding and staffing. Many of these issues pre-dated the pandemic and have contributed to concerns around the sustainability of the current model of LTRC in Ireland. The aim of the project detailed in this protocol is to provide an evidence base to help ensure the sustainability of the LTRC sector in Ireland within a new wider model of care for older people. The project includes three key objectives: (i) to describe and analyse the characteristics of LTRC homes across Ireland; (ii) to examine the association between LTRC home characteristics and COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths and (iii) to identify challenges to the sustainability of the LTRC sector within a COVID-19 environment and beyond. Bringing together the findings from these three objectives, the project will identify approaches and strategies which will help ensure the sustainability of LTRC that meets the needs of residents. The proposed research incorporates quantitative analyses and a review. Combining data from a variety of administration sources and using a variety of statistical techniques, the project will include a retrospective observational analysis of COVID-19 in LTRC homes in Ireland. Subsequently, a review will examine the current funding model of LTRC in Ireland, as well as the regulations and governance structure that underlie the system. The review will also examine international practices in these areas. Bringing together the findings from the quantitative analysis and the review and working with the knowledge users on the project, the project will build upon recent work in the area to identify the current challenges to the system of LTRC and possible solutions.