Background A growing older adult population is leading to increased admission rates to long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and residential care homes. Assisted healthcare services should be flexible, integrated, and responsive to older adults’ needs. However, there is a limited body of empirical evidence because of the recruitment challenges in these settings.
Aim To describe the barriers and challenges faced in recruiting to a recent pilot study, consider previously implemented and proposed recruitment strategies, and propose a new multi-method approach to maximising recruitment of care homes.
Discussion The proposed multi-method approach harnesses key recruitment strategies previously highlighted as effective in navigating the many challenges and barriers that are likely to be encountered, such as mistrust, scepticism and concerns about disruption to routines. This includes making strategic use of existing personal and professional connections within the research team, engaging with care homes that have previously engaged with the research process, forming relationships of trust, and employing a range of incentives.
Conclusion Implementing carefully planned recruitment strategies is likely to improve relationships between nursing homes and researchers. As a consequence, recruitment can be augmented which can enable the production of rigorous evidence required for achieving effective nursing practice and patient wellbeing.
Implications for practice Boosting recruitment rates is crucial in helping to build new and less biased research evidence and for informing and underpinning all forms of evidence-based practice. The lessons learned from our pilot and the review of the literature highlight these issues and better enable investigators to access research settings that commonly possess many complex recruitment barriers and challenges.
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