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Open Access Research

Insights into the impact and use of research results in a residential long-term care facility: a case study

Lisa A Cranley1*, Judy M Birdsell2, Peter G Norton3, Debra G Morgan4 and Carole A Estabrooks1

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Nursing, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, University of Alberta, 11405 87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada

2 On Management Health Group, 1700 Varsity Estates Drive, Calgary, AB, Canada

3 Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive, Calgary, AB, Canada

4 Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

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Implementation Science 2012, 7:90  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-90

Published: 13 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Engaging end-users of research in the process of disseminating findings may increase the relevance of findings and their impact for users. We report findings from a case study that explored how involvement with the Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) study influenced management and staff at one of 36 TREC facilities. We conducted the study at ‘Restwood’ (pseudonym) nursing home because the Director of Care engaged actively in the study and TREC data showed that this site differed on some areas from other nursing homes in the province. The aims of the case study were two-fold: to gain a better understanding of how frontline staff engage with the research process, and to gain a better understanding of how to share more detailed research results with management.

Methods

We developed an Expanded Feedback Report for use during this study. In it, we presented survey results that compared Restwood to the best performing site on all variables and participating sites in the province. Data were collected regarding the Expanded Feedback Report through interviews with management. Data from staff were collected through interviews and observation. We used content analysis to derive themes to describe key aspects related to the study aims.

Results

We observed the importance of understanding organizational routines and the impact of key events in the facility’s environment. We gleaned additional information that validated findings from prior feedback mechanisms within TREC. Another predominant theme was the sense that the opportunity to engage in a research process was reaffirming for staff (particularly healthcare aides)—what they did and said mattered, and TREC provided a means of having one’s voice heard. We gained valuable insight from the Director of Care about how to structure and format more detailed findings to assist with interpretation and use of results.

Conclusions

Four themes emerged regarding staff engagement with the research process: sharing feedback reports from the TREC study; the meaning of TREC to staff; understanding organizational context; and using the study feedback for improvement at Restwood. This study has lessons for researchers on how to share research results with study participants, including management.